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Full text of "The island of Doctor Moreau ; a possibility"

CO 



OCT 2 3 1376" 




The Island of Doctor Moreau 



The 

Island of Doctor Moreau 

A Possibility 

By 
H. G. Wells 



New York 
Stone esT Kimball 

MDCCCXCVI 



COPYRIGHT 

BY STONE AND KIMBALL 
MDCCCXCVI 




Contents 



INTRODUCTION vii 
I IN THE DINGEY OF THE "LADY 

VAIN" 9 
II THE MAN WHO WAS GOING 

NOWHERE 15 

III THE STRANGE FACE ai 

IV AT THE SCHOONER'S RAIL 31 
V THE MAN WHO HAD NOWHERE 

TO GO 37 

VI THE EVIL-LOOKING BOATMEN 45 

VII THE LOCKED DOOR 54 

VIII THE CRYING OF THE PUMA 63 

IX THE THING IN THE FOREST 69 

X THE CRYING OF THE MAN 86 

XI THE HUNTING OF THE MAN 93 

XII THE SAYERS OF THE LAW 103 

XIII THE PARLEY 118 

XIV DOCTOR MOREAU EXPLAINS 127 
XV CONCERNING THE BEAST FOLK 147 

XVI How THE BEAST FOLK TASTE 

BLOOD 157 

XVII A CATASTROPHE 180 

XVIII THE FINDING OF MOREAU 189 

XIX MONTGOMERY'S BANK HOLIDAY 197 

XX ALONE WITH THE BEAST FOLK 211 

XXI THE REVERSION OF THE BEAST 

FOLK 221 

XXII THE MAN ALONE 243 



INTRODUCTION. 

February the First, 1887, the ^ ai fy 
Vain was lost by collision with a 
derelict when about the latitude i S. and 
longitude 107 W. 

On January the Fifth, 1888 that is 
eleven months and four days after my 
uncle, Edward Prendick, a private gentle- 
man, who certainly went aboard the Lady 
Vain at Callao, and who had been con- 
sidered drowned, was picked up in latitude 
5 3' S. and longitude 101 W. in a small 
open boat of which the name was illegible, 
but which is supposed to have belonged to 
the missing schooner Ipecacuanha. He 
gave such a strange account of himself 
that he was supposed demented. Subse- 
quently he alleged that his mind was a 
blank from the moment of his escape from 
the Lady Vain. His case was discussed 
among psychologists at the time as a 
curious instance of the lapse of memory 
v 



Introduction 

consequent upon physical and mental stress. 
The following narrative was found among 
his papers by the undersigned, his nephew 
and heir, but unaccompanied by any definite 
request for publication. 

The only island known to exist in the 
region in which my uncle was picked up is 
Noble's Isle, a small volcanic islet and 
uninhabited. It was visited in 1891 by 
H. M. S. Scorpion. A party of sailors then 
landed, but found nothing living thereon 
except certain curious white moths, some 
hogs and rabbits, and some rather peculiar 
rats. So that this narrative is without con- 
firmation in its most essential particular. 
With that understood, there seems no harm 
in putting this strange story before the 
public in accordance, as I believe, with 
my uncle's intentions. There is at least 
this much in its behalf: my uncle passed 
out of human knowledge about latitude 5 
S. and longitude 105 E., and reappeared 
in the same part of the ocean after a space 
of eleven months. In some way he must 
have lived during the interval. And it 
seems that a schooner called the Ipecacuanha 
with a drunken captain, John Davies, did 
vi 



Introduction 

start from Africa with a puma and certain 
other animals aboard in January, 1887, that 
the vessel was well known at several ports 
in the South Pacific, and that it finally dis- 
appeared from those seas (with a consider- 
able amount of copra aboard), sailing to its 
unknown fate from Bayna in December, 
1887, a date that tallies entirely with my 
uncle's story. 

CHARLES EDWARD PRENDICK. 



VII 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

(The Story written by Edward Prendick.) 



I. 

IN THE DINGEY OF THE 

T DO not propose to add anything to what has 
* already been written concerning the loss of 
the "Lady Vain." As every one knows, she 
collided with a derelict when ten days out from 
Callao. The long-boat, with seven of the 
crew, was picked up eighteen days after by 
H. M. gunboat "Myrtle," and the story of 
their terrible privations has become quite as 
well known as the far more horrible "Medusa " 
case. But I have to add to the published story 
of the "Lady Vain" another, possibly as hor- 
rible and far stranger. It has hitherto been 
supposed that the four men who were in the 
dingey perished, but this is incorrect. I have 

9 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

the best of evidence for this assertion : I was 
one of the four men. 

But in the first place I must state that there 
never were four men in the dingey, the 
number was three. Constans, who was " seen 
by the captain to jump into the gig," * luckily 
for us and unluckily for himself did not reach 
us. He came down out of the tangle of ropes 
under the stays of the smashed bowsprit, some 
small rope caught his heel as he let go, and he 
hung for a moment head downward, and then 
fell and struck a block or spar floating in the 
water. We pulled towards him, but he never 
came up. 

I say luckily for us he did not reach us, and 
I might almost say luckily for himself; for we 
had only a small breaker of water and some 
soddenrecfc ship's biscuits with us, so sudden had 
been the alarm, so unprepared the ship for any 
disaster. We thought the people on the launch 
would be better provisioned (though it seems 
they were not), and we tried to hail them. 
They could not have heard us, and the next 
morning when the drizzle cleared, which 
1 Daily News, March 17, 1887. 
IO 



In the Dingey of the " Lady Vain." 

was not until past midday, we could see 
nothing of them. We could not stand up to 
look about us, because of the pitching of the 
boat. The two other men who had escaped 
so far with me were a man named Helmar, a 
passenger like myself, and a seaman whose 
name I don't know, a short sturdy man, 
with a stammer. 

We drifted famishing, and, after our water 
had come to an end, tormented by an intoler- 
able thirst, for eight days altogether. After the 
second day the sea subsided slowly to a glassy 
calm. It is quite impossible for the ordinary 
reader to imagine those eight days. He has 
not, luckily for himself, anything in his memory 
to imagine with. After the first day we said 
little to one another, and lay in our places in 
the boat and stared at the horizon, or watched, 
with eyes that grew larger and more haggard 
every day, the misery and weakness gaining 
upon our companions. The sun became piti- 
less. The water ended on the fourth day, and 
we were already thinking strange things and 
saying them with our eyes ; but it was, I think, 
the sixth before Helmar gave voice to the thing 
ii 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

we had all been thinking. I remember our 
voices were dry and thin, so that we bent 
towards one another and spared our words. I 
stood out against it with all my might, was 
rather for scuttling the boat and perishing to- 
gether among the sharks that followed us ; but 
when Helmar said that if his proposal was 
accepted we should have drink, the sailor came 
round to him. 

I would not draw lots however^ and in the 
night the sailor whispered to Helmar again and 
again, and I sat in the bows with my clasp- 
knife in my hand, though I doubt if I had the 
stuff in me to fight ; and in the morning I agreed 
to Helmar' s proposal, and we handed halfpence 
to find the odd man. The lot fell upon the 
sailor ; but he was the strongest of us and would 
not abide by it, and attacked Helmar with his 
hands. They grappled together and almost 
stood up. I crawled along the boat to them, 
intending to help Helmar by grasping the sailor's 
leg ; but the sailor stumbled with the swaying 
of the boat, and the two fell upon the gunwale 
and rolled overboard together. They sank 
like stones. I remember laughing at that, and 

12 



In the Dingey of the " Lady Vain." 

wondering why I laughed. The laugh caught 
me suddenly like a thing from without. 

I lay across one of the thwarts for I know 
not how long, thinking that if I had the strength 
I would drink sea-water and madden myself to 
die quickly. And even as I lay there I saw, 
with no more interest than if it had been a pic- 
ture, a sail come up towards me over the sky- 
line. My mind must have been wandering, 
and yet I remember all that happened, quite 
distinctly. I remember how my head swayed 
with the seas, and the horizon with the sail 
above it danced up and down ; but I also re- 
member as distinctly that I had a persuasion 
that I was dead, and that I thought what a jest 
it was that they should come too late by such a 
little to catch me in my body. 

For an endless period, as it seemed to me, I 
lay with my head on the thwart watching the 
schooner (she was a little ship, schooner- 
rigged fore and aft) come up out of the sea. 
She kept tacking to and fro in a widening com- 
pass, for she was sailing dead into the wind. 
It never entered my head to attempt to attract 
attention, and I do not remember anything dis- 

'3 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

tinctly after the sight of her side until I found 
myself in a little cabin aft. There 's a dim 
half-memory of being lifted up to the gangway, 
and of a big red countenance covered with 
freckles and surrounded with red hair staring at 
me over the bulwarks. I also had a discon- 
nected impression of a dark face, with extraor- 
dinary eyes, close to mine; but that I thought 
was a nightmare, until I met it again. I fancy 
I recollect some stuff being poured in between 
my teeth ; and that is all. 



II. 

THE MAN WHO WAS GOING NOWHERE. 

HTHE cabin in which I found myself was 
* small and rather untidy. A youngish 
man with flaxen hair, a bristly straw-coloured 
moustache, and a dropping nether lip, was sit- 
ting and holding my wrist. For a minute we 
stared at each other without speaking. He had 
watery grey eyes, oddly void of expression. 
Then just overhead came a sound like an iron 
bedstead being knocked about, and the low 
angry growling of some large animal. At the 
same time the man spoke. He repeated his 
question, 

" How do you feel now ? " 

I think I said I felt all right. I could not 
recollect how I had got there. He must have 
seen the question in my face, for my voice was 
inaccessible to me. 

" You were picked up in a boat, starving. 
The name on the boat was the ' Lady Vain,' 
and there were spots of blood on the gunwale." 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

At the same time my eye caught my hand, 
thin so that it looked like a dirty skin-purse full 
of loose bones, and all the business of the boat 
came back to me. 

" Have some of this," said he, and gave me 
a dose of some scarlet stuff, iced. 

It tasted like blood, and made me feel stronger. 

"You were in luck," said he, "to get 
picked up by a ship with a medical man aboard." 
He spoke with a slobbering articulation, with 
the ghost of a lisp. 

" What ship is this?" I said slowly, hoarse 
from my long silence. 

"It's a little trader from Arica and Callao. 
I never asked where she came from in the begin- 
ning, out of the land of born fools, I guess. 
I'm a passenger myself, from Arica. The 
silly ass who owns her, he's captain too, 
named Davies, he 's lost his certificate, or 
something. You know the kind of man, 
calls the thing the ' Ipecacuanha,' of all silly, 
infernal names; though when there's much 
of a sea without any wind, she certainly acts 
according." 

(Then the noise overhead began again, a 
16 



The Man who was going Nowhere. 

snarling growl and the voice of a human being 
together. Then another voice, telling some 
" Heaven-forsaken idiot ' ' to desist. ) 

" You were nearly dead," said my inter- 
locutor. '.' It was a very near thing, indeed. 
But I *ve put some stuff into you now. Notice 
your arm 's sore ? Injections. You 've been 
insensible for nearly thirty hours." 

I thought slowly. (I was distracted now by 
the yelping of a number of dogs.) " Am I 
eligible for solid food ? " I asked. 

" Thanks to me," he said. " Even now 
the mutton is boiling." 

" Yes," I said with assurance ; " I could eat 
some mutton." 

"But," said he with a momentary hesitation, 
" you know I 'm dying to hear of how you 
came to be alone in that boat. Damn that 
howling / " I thought I detected a certain sus- 
picion in his eyes. 

He suddenly left the cabin, and I heard him in 
violent controversy with some one, who seemed 
to me to talk gibberish in response to him. 
The matter sounded as though it ended in blows, 
but in that I thought my ears were mistaken. 

2 I 7 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

Then he shouted at the dogs, and returned 
the cabin. 

"Well?" said he in the doorway. " Yc 
were just beginning to tell me." 

I told him my name, Edward Prendick, and 
how I had taken to Natural History as a relief 
from the dulness of my comfortable indepen- 
dence. 

He seemed interested in this. "I 've done 
some science myself. I did my Biology at 
University College, getting out the ovary of 
the earthworm and the radula of the snail, and 
all that. Lord ! It 's ten years ago. But go 
on ! go on! tell me about the boat." 

He was evidently satisfied with the frankness 
of my story, which I told in concise sentences 
enough, for I felt horribly weak ; and when it 
was finished he reverted at once to the topic of 
Natural History and his own biological studies. 
He began to question me closely about Totten- 
ham Court Road and Gower Street. " Is Cap- 
latzi still flourishing ? What a shop that was ! ' ' 
He had evidently been a very ordinary medical 
student, and drifted incontinently to the topic 
of the music halls. He told me some anecdotes. 
18 



The Man who was going Nowhere. 

"Left it all,*' he said, " ten years ago. How 
jolly it all used to be ! But I made a young 
ass of myself, played myself out before I was 
twenty-one. I daresay it's all different now. 
But I must look up that ass of a cook, and see 
what he 's done to your mutton." 

The growling overhead was renewed, so sud- 
denly and with so much savage anger that it 
startled me. "What's that?" I called after 
him, but the door had closed. He came back 
again with the boiled mutton, and I was so 
excited by the appetising smell of it that I forgot 
the noise of the beast that had troubled me. 

After a day of alternate sleep and feeding I 
was so far recovered as to be able to get from 
my bunk to the scuttle, and see the green seas 
trying to keep pace with us. I judged the 
schooner was running before the wind. Mont- 
gomery that was the name of the flaxen-haired 
man came in again as I stood there, and I 
asked him for some clothes. He lent me some 
duck things of his own, for those I had worn in 
the boat had been thrown overboard. They 
were rather loose for me, for he was large and 
long in his limbs. He told me casually that 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

the captain was three-parts drunk in his own 
cabin. As I assumed the clothes, I began ask- 
ing him some questions about the destination of 
the ship. He said the ship was bound to 
Hawaii, but that it had to land him first. 

"Where?" said I. 

"It's an island, where I live. So far as I 
know, it hasn't got a name." 

He stared at me with his nether lip dropping, 
and looked so wilfully stupid of a sudden that 
it came into my head that he desired to avoid 
my questions. I had the discretion to ask no 
more. 



III. 

THE STRANGE FACE. 

VX7E left the cabin and found a man at the 
companion obstructing our way. He was 
standing on the ladder with his back to us, peer- 
ing over the combing of the hatchway. He 
was, I could see, a misshapen man, short, broad, 
and clumsy, with a crooked back, a hairy neck, 
and a head sunk between his shoulders. He 
was dressed in dark-blue serge, and had pecu- 
liarly thick, coarse, black hair. I heard the 
unseen dogs growl furiously, and forthwith he 
ducked back, coming into contact with the 
hand I put out to fend him off from myself. 
He 'turned with animal swiftness. 

In some indefinable way the black face thus 
flashed upon me shocked me profoundly. It 
was a singularly deformed one. The facial 
part projected, forming something dimly sug- 
gestive of a muzzle, and the huge half-open 
mouth showed as big white teeth as I had ever 

21 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

seen in a human mouth. His eyes were blood- 
shot at the edges, with scarcely a rim of white 
round the hazel pupils. There was a curious 
glow of excitement in his face. 

" Confound you ! " said Montgomery. 
"Why the devil don't you get out of the 
way?" 

The black-faced man started aside without a 
word. I went on up the companion, staring 
at him instinctively as I did so. Montgomery 
stayed at the foot for a moment. " You have 
no business here, you know," he said in a 
deliberate tone. " Your place is forward." 

The black-faced man cowered. "They 
won't have me forward." He spoke slowly, 
with a queer, hoarse quality in his voice. 

" Won* t have you forward ! ' ' said Mont- 
gomery, in a menacing voice. " But I tell you 
to go ! " He was on the brink of saying some- 
thing further, then looked up at me suddenly 
and followed me up the ladder. 

I had paused half way through the hatch- 
way, looking back, still astonished beyond 
measure at the grotesque ugliness of this black- 
faced creature. I had never beheld such a 
22 



The Strange Face. 

repulsive and extraordinary face before, and 
yet if the contradiction is credible I expe- 
rienced at the same time an odd feeling that in 
some way I bad already encountered exactly 
the features and gestures that now amazed me. 
Afterwards it occurred to me that probably I 
had seen him as I was lifted aboard ; and yet 
that scarcely satisfied my suspicion of a previous 
acquaintance. Yet how one could have set 
eyes on so singular a face and yet have forgot- 
ten the precise occasion, passed my imagination. 
Montgomery's movement to follow me re- 
leased my attention, and I turned and looked 
about me at the flush deck of the little schooner. 
I was already half prepared by the sounds I 
had heard for what I saw. Certainly I never 
beheld a deck so dirty. It was littered with 
scraps of carrot, shreds of green stuff, and 
indescribable filth. Fastened by chains to the 
mainmast were a number of grisly staghounds, 
who now began leaping and barking at me, 
and by the mizzen a huge puma was cramped 
in a little iron cage far too small even to give 
it turning room. Farther under the starboard 
bulwark were some big hutches containing a 
2 3 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

number of rabbits, and a solitary llama was 
squeezed in a mere box of a cage forward. 
The dogs were muzzled by leather straps. The 
only human being on deck was a gaunt and 
silent sailor at the wheel. 

The patched and dirty spankers were tense 
before the wind, and up aloft the little ship 
seemed carrying every sail she had. The sky was 
clear, the sun midway down the western sky ; 
long waves, capped by the breeze with froth, 
were running with us. We went past the steers- 
man to the taffrail, and saw the water come 
foaming under the stern and the bubbles go 
dancing and vanishing in her wake. I turned 
and surveyed the unsavoury length of the ship. 

*' Is this an ocean menagerie ? " said I. 

"Looks like it," said Montgomery. 

"What are these beasts for? Merchandise, 
curios ? Does the captain think he is going to 
sell them somewhere in the South Seas ? ' ' 

"It looks like it, doesn't it?" said Mont- 
gomery, and turned towards the wake again. 

Suddenly we heard a yelp and a volley of 
furious blasphemy from the companion hatch- 
way, and the deformed man with the black 
24 



The Strange Face. 

face came up hurriedly. He was immediately 
followed by a heavy red-haired man in a white 
cap. At the sight of the former the staghounds, 
who had all tired of barking at me by this time, 
became furiously excited, howling and leaping 
against their chains. The black hesitated before 
them, and this gave the red-haired man time to 
come up with him and deliver a tremendous 
blow between the shoulder-blades. The poor 
devil went down like a felled ox, and rolled in 
the dirt among the furiously excited dogs. It 
was lucky for him that they were muzzled. 
The red-haired man gave a yawp of exultation 
and stood staggering, and as it seemed to me in 
serious danger of either going backwards down 
the companion hatchway or forwards upon his 
victim. 

So soon as the second man had appeared, 
Montgomery had started forward. "Steady 
on there ! " he cried, in a tone of remonstrance. 
A couple of sailors appeared on the forecastle. 
The black-faced man, howling in a singular voice, 
rolled about under the feet of the dogs. No 
one attempted to help him. The brutes did 
their best to worry him, butting their muzzles 
25 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

at him. There was a quick dance of their lithe 
grey-figured bodies over the clumsy, prostrate 
figure. The sailors forward shouted, as though 
it was admirable sport. Montgomery gave an 
angry exclamation, and went striding down the 
deck, and I followed him. The black-faced 
man scrambled up and staggered forward, going 
and leaning over the bulwark by the main 
shrouds, where he remained, panting and glaring 
over his shoulder at the dogs. The red-haired 
man laughed a satisfied laugh. 

"Look here, Captain," said Montgomery, 
with his lisp a little accentuated, gripping the 
elbows of the red-haired man, "this won't 
do!" 

I stood behind Montgomery. The captain 
came half round, and regarded him with the 
dull and solemn eyes of a drunken man. " Wha' 
won't do ? " he said, and added, after looking 
sleepily into Montgomery's face for a minute, 
" Blasted Sawbones ! " 

With a sudden movement he shook his arm 
free, and after two ineffectual attempts stuck his 
freckled fists into his side pockets. 

"That man's a passenger," said Mont- 
26 



The Strange Face. 

gomery. "I'd advise you to keep your hands 
off him." 

" Go to hell ! " said the captain, loudly. 
He suddenly turned and staggered towards the 
side. " Do what I like on my own ship," he 
said. 

I think Montgomery might have left him 
then, seeing the brute was drunk ; but he only 
turned a shade paler, and followed the captain 
to the bulwarks. 

" Look you here, Captain, 1 ' he said ; "that 
man of mine is not to be ill-treated. He has 
been hazed ever since he came aboard." 

For a minute, alcoholic fumes kept the cap- 
tain speechless. "Blasted Sawbones!" was 
all he considered necessary. 

I could see that Montgomery had one of 
those slow, pertinacious tempers that will warm 
day after day to a white heat, and never again 
cool to forgiveness ; and I saw too that this 
quarrel had been some time growing. " The 
man's drunk," said I, perhaps officiously; 
" you '11 do no good." 

Montgomery gave an ugly twist to his 
dropping lip. "He's always drunk. Do 
27 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

you think that excuses his assaulting his 
passengers ? " 

"My ship," began the captain, waving his 
hand unsteadily towards the cages, "was a 
clean ship. Look at it now ! " It was cer- 
tainly anything but clean. " Crew,'' con- 
tinued the captain, "clean, respectable crew." 

"You agreed to take the beasts." 

" I wish I 'd never set eyes on your infernal 
island. What the devil want beasts for on 
an island like that ? Then, that man of yours 
understood he was a man. He 's a lunatic ; 
and he hadn't no business aft. Do you think 
the whole damned ship belongs to you ?" 

" Your sailors began to haze the poor devil 
as soon as he came aboard." 

"That's just what he is he's a devil! 
an ugly devil ! My men can't stand him. / 
can't stand him. None of us can't stand him. 
Nor you either ! " 

Montgomery turned away. " You leave 
that man alone, anyhow," he said, nodding his 
head as he spoke. 

But the captain meant to quarrel now. He 
raised his voice. "If he comes this end of the 
28 



The Strange Face. 

ship again I '11 cut his insides out, I tell you. 
Cut out his blasted insides ! Who are you, to 
tell me what Pm to do ? I tell you I 'm cap- 
tain of this ship, captain and owner. I 'm 
the law here, I tell you, the law and the 
prophets. I bargained to take a man and his 
attendant to and from Arica, and bring back 
some animals. I never bargained to carry a 
mad devil and a silly Sawbones, a " 

Well, never mind what he called Montgomery. 
I saw the latter take a step forward, and inter- 
posed. "He's drunk," said I. The captain 
began some abuse even fouler than the last. 
" Shut up ! " I said, turning on him sharply, 
for I had seen danger in Montgomery's white 
face. With that I brought the downpour on 
myself. 

However, I was glad to avert what was 
uncommonly near a scuffle, even at the price of 
the captain's drunken ill-will. I do not think 
I have ever heard quite so much vile language 
come in a continuous stream from any man's 
lips before, though I have frequented eccentric 
company enough. I found some of it hard to 
endure, though I am a mild-tempered man ; 
29 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

but, certainly, when I told the captain to " shut 
up J ' I had forgotten that I was merely a bit of 
human flotsam, cut off from my resources and 
with my fare unpaid ; a mere casual dependant 
on the bounty, or speculative enterprise, of the 
ship. He reminded me of it with considerable 
vigour ; but at any rate I prevented a fight. 




IV. 



PHAT night land was sighted after sundown, 
and the schooner hove to. Montgomery 
intimated that was his destination. It was too 
far to see any details ; it seemed to me then 
simply a low-lying patch of dim blue in the 
uncertain blue-grey sea. An almost vertical 
streak of smoke went up from it into the sky. 
The captain was not on deck when it was sighted. 
After he had vented his wrath on me he had 
staggered below, and I understand he went to 
sleep on the floor of his own cabin. The mate 
practically assumed the command. He was the 
gaunt, taciturn individual we had seen at the 
wheel. Apparently he was in an evil temper 
with Montgomery. He took not the slightest 
notice of either of us. We dined with him in 
a sulky silence, after a few ineffectual efforts on 
my part to talk. It struck me too that the men 
regarded my companion and his animals in a 
3 1 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

singularly unfriendly manner. I found Mont- 
gomery very reticent about his purpose with 
these creatures, and about his destination ; and 
though I was sensible of a growing curiosity as 
to both, I did not press him. 

We remained talking on the quarter deck until 
the sky was thick with stars. Except for an 
occasional sound in the yellow-lit forecastle and 
a movement of the animals now and then, the 
night was very still. The puma lay crouched 
together, watching us with shining eyes, a black 
heap in the corner of its cage. Montgomery 
produced some cigars. He talked to me of 
London in a tone of half-painful reminiscence, 
asking all kinds of questions about changes that 
had taken place. He spoke like a man who had 
loved his life there, and had been suddenly and 
irrevocably cut off from it. I gossiped as well 
as I could of this and that. All the time the 
strangeness of him was shaping itself in my mind ; 
and as I talked I peered at his odd, pallid face 
in the dim light of the binnacle lantern behind 
me. Then I looked out at the darkling sea, 
where in the dimness his little island was hidden. 

This man, it seemed to me, had come out of 
32 



At the Schooner's Rail. 

Immensity merely to save my life. To-morrow 
he would drop over the side, and vanish again 
out of my existence. Even had it been under 
commonplace circumstances, it would have made 
me a trifle thoughtful ; but in the first place 
was the singularity of an educated man living 
on this unknown little island, and coupled with 
that the extraordinary nature of his luggage. I 
found myself repeating the captain's question, 
What did he want with the beasts ? Wny, too, 
had he pretended they were not his when I had 
remarked about them at first ? Then, again, 
in his personal attendant there was a bizarre 
quality which had impressed me profoundly. 
These circumstances threw a haze of mystery 
round the man. They laid hold of my imagi- 
nation, and hampered my tongue. 

Towards midnight our talk of London died 
away, and we stood side by side leaning over 
the bulwarks and staring dreamily over the 
silent, starlit sea, each pursuing his own thoughts. 
It was the atmosphere for sentiment, and I 
began upon my gratitude. 

"If I may say it," said I, after a time, 
"you have saved my life." 
3 33 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

"Chance,** he answered. "Just chance." 

"I prefer to make my thanks to the accessible 
agent." 

" Thank no one. You had the need, and I 
had the knowledge ; and I injected and fed you 
much as I might have collected a specimen. I 
was bored, and wanted something to do. If 
I'd been jaded that day, or hadn't liked your 
face, well it's a curious question where you 
would have been now ! " 

This damped my mood a little. "At any 
rate," I began. 

" It 's chance, I tell you," he interrupted, 
"as everything is in a man's life. Only the 
asses won't see it ! Why am I here now, an 
outcast from civilisation, instead of being a 
happy man enjoying all the pleasures of Lon- 
don ? Simply because eleven years ago I 
lost my head for ten minutes on a foggy night." 

He stopped. " Yes ? " said I. 

"That's all." 

We relapsed into silence. Presently he 
laughed. "There's something in this star- 
light that loosens one's tongue. I'm an ass, 
and yet somehow I would like to tell you." 
34 



At the Schooner's Rail. 

" Whatever you tell me, you may rely upon 
my keeping to myself if that's it." 

He was on the point of beginning, and then 
shook his head, doubtfully. 

"Don't," said I. "It is all the same to 
me. After all, it is better to keep your secret. 
There's nothing gained but a little relief if I 
respect your confidence. If I don't well ? " 

He grunted undecidedly. I felt I had him 
at a disadvantage, had caught him in the mood 
of indiscretion ; and to tell the truth I was not 
curious to learn what might have driven a young 
medical student out of London. I have an 
imagination. I shrugged my shoulders and 
turned away. Over the taffrail leant a silent 
black figure, watching the stars. It was Mont- 
gomery' s strange attendant. It looked over its 
shoulder quickly with my movement, then looked 
away again. 

It may seem a little thing to you, perhaps, 
but it came like a sudden blow to me. The 
only light near us was a lantern at the wheel. 
The creature's face was turned for one brief 
instant out of the dimness of the stern towards 
this illumination, and I saw that the eyes that 
35 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

glanced at me shone with a pale-green light. I 
did not know then that a reddish luminosity, at 
least, is not uncommon in human eyes. The 
thing came to me as stark inhumanity. That 
black figure with its eyes of fire struck down 
through all my adult thoughts and feelings, and 
for a moment the forgotten horrors of childhood 
came back to my mind. Then the effect passed 
as it had come. An uncouth black figure of a 
man, a figure of no particular import, hung over 
the taffrail against the starlight, and I found 
Montgomery was speaking to me. 

"I'm thinking of turning in, then," said 
he, "if you've had enough of this." 

I answered him incongruously. We went 
below, and he wished me good-night at the 
door of my cabin. 

That night I had some very unpleasant dreams. 
The waning moon rose late. Its light struck a 
ghostly white beam across my cabin, and made 
an ominous shape on the planking by my bunk. 
Then the staghounds woke, and began howling 
and baying ; so that I dreamt fitfully, and 
scarcely slept until the approach of dawn. 



V. 

THE MAN WHO HAD NOWHERE TO GO. 

IN the early morning (it was the second morn- 
ing after my recovery, and I believe the 
fourth after I was picked up), I awoke through 
an avenue of tumultuous dreams, dreams of 
guns and howling mobs, and became sensi- 
ble of a hoarse shouting above me. I rubbed 
my eyes and lay listening to the noise, doubtful 
for a little while of my whereabouts. Then 
came a sudden pattering of bare feet, the sound 
of heavy objects being thrown about, a violent 
creaking and the rattling of chains. I heard 
the swish of the water as the ship was suddenly 
brought round, and a foamy yellow-green wave 
flew across the little round window and left it 
streaming. I jumped into my clothes and went 
on deck. 

As I came up the ladder I saw against the 
flushed sky for the sun was just rising the 
37 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

broad back and red hair of the captain, and 
over his shoulder the puma spinning from a 
tackle rigged on to the mizzen spanker-boom. 

The poor brute seemed horribly scared, and 
crouched in the bottom of its little cage. 

" Overboard with 'em!" bawled the cap- 
tain. "Overboard with 'em! We '11 have a 
clean ship soon of the whole bilin' of 'em." 

He stood in my way, so that I had perforce 
to tap his shoulder to come on deck. He came 
round with a start, and staggered back a few 
paces to stare at me. It needed no expert eye 
to tell that the man was still drunk. 

" Hullo ! " said he, stupidly ; and then with 
a light coming into his eyes, "Why, it's Mis- 
ter Mister?" 

"Prendick," said I. 

" Pendick be damned ! " said he. " Shut- 
up, that 's your name. Mister Shut-up." 

It was no good answering the brute ; but I 
certainly did not expect his next move. He 
held out his hand to the gangway by which 
Montgomery stood talking to a massive grey- 
haired man in dirty-blue flannels, who had 
apparently just come aboard. 

38 



The Man who had Nowhere to Go. 

" That way, Mister Blasted Shut-up ! that 
way ! " roared the captain. 

Montgomery and his companion turned as 
he spoke. 

" What do you mean ? " I said. 

"That way, Mister Blasted Shut-up, 
that 's what I mean ! Overboard, Mister Shut- 
up, and sharp ! We 're cleaning the ship 
out, cleaning the whole blessed ship out; 
and overboard you go ! " 

I stared at him dumfounded. Then it 
occurred to me that it was exactly the thing I 
wanted. The lost prospect of a journey as sole 
passenger with this quarrelsome sot was not one 
to mourn over. I turned towards Montgomery. 

" Can't have you," said Montgomery's com- 
panion, concisely. 

" You can't have me ! " said I, aghast. He 
had the squarest and most resolute face I ever 
set eyes upon. 

"Look here," I began, turning to the 
captain. 

"Overboard!" said the captain. "This 
ship aint for beasts and cannibals and worse 
than beasts, any more. Overboard you go, 
39 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

Mister Shut-up. If they can't have you, you 
goes overboard. But, anyhow, you go with 
your friends. I've done with this blessed 
island for evermore, amen ! I've had enough 
of it. 

"But, Montgomery," I appealed. 

He distorted his lower lip, and nodded his 
head hopelessly at the grey-haired man be- 
side him, to indicate his powerlessness to help 
me. 

" I '11 see to you, presently," said the 
captain. 

Then began a curious three-cornered alter- 
cation. Alternately I appealed to one and 
another of the three men, first to the grey- 
haired man to let me land, and then to the 
drunken captain to keep me aboard. I even 
bawled entreaties to the sailors. Montgomery 
said never a word, only shook his head. 
" You 're going overboard, I tell you," was the 
captain's refrain. " Law be damned ! I'm 
king here." At last I must confess my voice 
suddenly broke in the middle of a vigorous 
threat. I felt a gust of hysterical petulance, 
and went aft and stared dismally at nothing. 
40 



The Man who had Nowhere to Go. 

Meanwhile the sailors progressed rapidly 
with the task of unshipping the packages and 
caged animals. A large launch, with two 
standing lugs, lay under the lea of the schooner ; 
and into this the strange assortment of goods 
were swung. I did not then see the hands 
from the island that were receiving the packages, 
for the hull of the launch was hidden from me 
by the side of the schooner. Neither Mont- 
gomery nor his companion took the slightest 
notice of me, but busied themselves in assisting 
and directing the four or five sailors who were 
unloading the goods. The captain went for- 
ward interfering rather than assisting. I was 
alternately despairful and desperate. Once or 
twice as I stood waiting there for things to 
accomplish themselves, I could not resist an 
impulse to laugh at my miserable quandary. I 
felt all the wretcheder for the lack of a break- 
fast. Hunger and a lack of blood-corpuscles 
take all the manhood from a man. I perceived 
pretty clearly that I had not the stamina either 
to resist what the captain chose to do to expel 
me, or to force myself upon Montgomery and 
his companion. So I waited passively upon 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

fate ; and the work of transferring Montgomery's 
possessions to the launch went on as if I did 
not exist. 

Presently that work was finished, and then 
came a struggle. I was hauled, resisting weakly 
enough, to the gangway. Even then I noticed 
the oddness of the brown faces of the men who 
were with Montgomery in the launch ; but the 
launch was now fully laden, and was shoved 
off hastily. A broadening gap of green 
water appeared under me, and I pushed back 
with all my strength to avoid falling headlong. 
The hands in the launch shouted derisively, 
and I heard Montgomery curse at them ; 
and then the captain, the mate, and one of 
the seamen helping him, ran me aft towards 
the stern. 

The dingey of the " Lady Vain " had been 
towing behind ; it was half full of water, had 
no oars, and was quite unvictualled. I refused 
to go aboard her, and flung myself full length 
on the deck. In the end, they swung me into 
her by a rope (for they had no stern ladder), 
and then they cut me adrift. I drifted slowly 
from the schooner. In a kind of stupor I 
42 



The Man who had Nowhere to Go. 

watched all hands take to the rigging, and slowly 
but surely she came round to the wind ; the 
sails fluttered, and then bellied out as the wind 
came into them. I stared at her weather-beaten 
side heeling steeply towards me ; and then she 
passed out of my range of view. 

I did not turn my head to follow her. At 
first I could scarcely believe what had happened. 
I crouched in the bottom of the dingey, stunned, 
and staring blankly at the vacant, oily sea. 
Then I realized that I was in that little hell of 
mine again, now half swamped ; and looking 
back over the gunwale, I saw the schooner 
standing away from me, with the red-haired 
captain mocking at me over the taffrail, and 
turning towards the island saw the launch grow- 
ing smaller as she approached the beach. 

Abruptly the cruelty of this desertion became 
clear to me. I had no means of reaching the 
land unless I should chance to drift there. I 
was still weak, you must remember, from my 
exposure in the boat ; I was empty and very 
faint, or I should have had more heart. But 
as it was I suddenly began to sob and weep, as 
I had never done since I was a little child. 
43 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

The tears ran down my face. In a passion of 
despair I struck with my fists at the water in 
the bottom of the boat, and kicked savagely at 
the gunwale. I prayed aloud for God to let 
me die. 



44 



VI. 

THE EVIL-LOOKING BOATMEN. 

OUT the islanders, seeing that I was really 
*-* adrift, took pity on me. I drifted very 
slowly to the eastward, approaching the island 
slantingly ; and presently I saw, with hysterical 
relief, the launch come round and return towards 
me. She was heavily laden, and I could make 
out as she drew nearer Montgomery's white- 
haired, broad-shouldered companion sitting 
cramped up with the dogs and several packing- 
cases in the stern sheets. This individual stared 
fixedly at me without moving or speaking. 
The black-faced cripple was glaring at me as 
fixedly in the bows near the puma. There 
were three other men besides, three strange 
brutish-looking fellows, at whom the staghounds 
were snarling savagely. Montgomery, who 
was steering, brought the boat by me, and rising, 
caught and fastened my painter to the tiller to 
tow me, for there was no room aboard. 

45 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

I had recovered from my hysterical phase by 
this time, and answered his hail, as he approached, 
bravely enough. I told him the dingey was 
nearly swamped, and he reached me a piggin. 
I was jerked back as the rope tightened between 
the boats. For some time I was busy baling. 

It was not until I had got the water under 
(for the water in the dingey had been shipped ; 
the boat was perfectly sound) that I had leisure 
to look at the people in the launch again. 

The white-haired man I found was still re- 
garding me steadfastly, but with an expression, 
as I now fancied, of some perplexity. When 
my eyes met his, he looked down at the stag- 
hound that sat between his knees. He was a 
powerfully-built man, as I have said, with a 
fine forehead and rather heavy features ; but his 
eyes had that odd drooping of the skin above 
the lids which often comes with advancing years, 
and the fall of his heavy mouth at the corners 
gave him an expression of pugnacious resolution. 
He talked to Montgomery in a tone too low 
for me to hear. 

From him my eyes travelled to his three 
men ; and a strange crew they were. I saw 
46 



The Evil-looking Boatmen. 

only their faces, yet there was something in 
their faces I knew not what that gave me 
a queer spasm of disgust. I looked steadily at 
them, and the impression did not pass, though I 
failed to see what had occasioned it. They 
seemed to me then to be brown men ; but their 
limbs were oddly swathed in some thin, dirty, 
white stuff down even to the fingers and feet : 
I have never seen men so wrapped up before, 
and women so only in the East. They wore 
turbans too, and thereunder peered out their 
elfin faces at me, faces with protruding lower- 
jaws and bright eyes. They had lank black 
hair, almost like horsehair, and seemed as they 
sat to exceed in stature any race of men I have 
seen. The white-haired man, who I knew was 
a good six feet in height, sat a head below any 
one of the three. I found afterwards that really 
none were taller than myself; but their bodies 
were abnormally long, and the thigh-part of 
the leg short and curiously twisted. At any 
rate, they were an amazingly ugly gang, and 
over the heads of them under the forward lug 
peered the black face of the man whose eyes 
were luminous in the dark. As I stared at 
47 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

them, they met my gaze ; and then first one 
and then another turned away from my direct 
stare, and looked at me in an odd, furtive man- 
ner. It occurred to me that I was perhaps 
annoying them, and I turned my attention to 
the island we were approaching. 

It was low, and covered with thick vegeta- 
tion, chiefly a kind of palm, that was new 
to me. From one point a thin white thread of 
vapour rose slantingly to an immense height, 
and then frayed out like a down feather. We 
were now within the embrace of a broad bay 
flanked on either hand by a low promontory. 
The beach was of dull-grey sand, and sloped 
steeply up to a ridge, perhaps sixty or seventy 
feet above the sea-level, and irregularly set 
with trees and undergrowth. Half way up 
was a square enclosure of some greyish stone, 
which I found subsequently was built partly of 
coral and partly of pumiceous lava. Two 
thatched roofs peeped from within this enclosure. 
A man stood awaiting us at the water's edge. 
I fancied while we were still far off that I saw 
some other and very grotesque-looking creatures 
scuttle into the bushes upon the slope ; but I 
48 



The Evil-looking Boatmen. 

saw nothing of these as we drew nearer. This 
man was of a moderate size, and with a black 
negroid face. He had a large, almost lipless, 
mouth, extraordinary lank arms, long thin feet, 
and bow-legs, and stood with his heavy face 
thrust forward staring at us. He was dressed 
like Montgomery and his white-haired compan- 
ion, in jacket and trousers of blue serge. As 
we came still nearer, this individual began to 
run to and fro on the beach, making the most 
grotesque movements. 

At a word of command from Montgomery, 
the four men in the launch sprang up, and with 
singularly awkward gestures struck the lugs. 
Montgomery steered us round and into a nar- 
row little dock excavated in the beach. Then 
the man on the beach hastened towards us. 
This dock, as I call it, was really a mere ditch 
just long enough at this phase of the tide to 
take the longboat. I heard the bows ground in 
the sand, staved the dingey off the rudder of 
the big boat with my piggin, and freeing the 
painter, landed. The three muffled men, with 
the clumsiest movements, scrambled out upon 
the sand, and forthwith set to landing the cargo, 
4 49 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

assisted by the man on the beach. I was struck 
especially by the curious movements of the legs 
of the three swathed and bandaged boatmen, 
not stiff they were, but distorted in some odd 
way, almost as if they were jointed in the wrong 
place. The dogs were still snarling, and strained 
at their chains after these men, as the white- 
haired man landed with them. The three big 
fellows spoke to one another in odd guttural 
tones, and the man who had waited for us on 
the beach began chattering to them excitedly 
a foreign language, as I fancied as they laid 
hands on some bales piled near the stern. 
Somewhere I had heard such a voice before, 
and I could not think where. The white- 
haired man stood, holding in a tumult of six 
dogs, and bawling orders over their din. 
Montgomery, having unshipped the rudder, 
landed likewise, and all set to work at unload- 
ing. I was too faint, what with my long fast 
and the sun beating down on my bare head, to 
offer any assistance. 

Presently the white-haired man seemed to 
recollect my presence, and came up to me. 

"You look," said he, "as though you had 

5 



The Evil-looking Boatmen. 

scarcely breakfasted." His little eyes were a 
brilliant black under his heavy brows. "I 
must apologise for that. Now you are our 
guest, we must make you comfortable, though 
you are uninvited, you know." He looked 
keenly into my face. " Montgomery says you 
are an educated man, Mr. Prendick ; says you 
know something of science. May I ask what 
that signifies ? ' ' 

I told him I had spent some years at the Royal 
College of Science, and had done some researches 
in biology under Huxley. He raised his eye- 
brows slightly at that. 

" That alters the case a little, Mr. Prendick," 
he said, with a trifle more respect in his man- 
ner. "As it happens, we are biologists here. 
This is a biological station of a sort." His 
eye rested on the men in white who were busily 
hauling the puma, on rollers, towards the walled 
yard. "I and Montgomery, at least," he 
added. Then, "When you will be able to 
get away, I can't say. We're off the track to 
anywhere. We see a ship once in a twelve- 
month or so." 

He left me abruptly, and went up the beach 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

past this group, and I think entered the enclos- 
ure. The other two men were with Mont- 
gomery, erecting a pile of smaller packages on a 
low-wheeled truck. The llama was still on the 
launch with the rabbit hutches ; the staghounds 
were still lashed to the thwarts. The pile of 
things completed, all three men laid hold of the 
truck and began shoving the ton-weight or so 
upon it after the puma. Presently Montgomery 
left them, and coming back to me held out his 
hand. 

"I'm glad," said he, "for my own part. 
That captain was a silly ass. He ' d have made 
things lively for you." 

"It was you," said I, "that saved me 
again." 

"That depends. You '11 find this island an 
infernally rum place, I promise you. I 'd watch 
my goings carefully, if I were you. He " 
He hesitated, and seemed to alter his mind about 
what was on his lips. "I wish you'd help 
me with these rabbits," he said. 

His procedure with the rabbits was singular. 
I waded in with him, and helped him lug one 
of the hutches ashore. No sooner was that 

5 2 



The Evil-looking Boatmen. 

done than he opened the door of it, and tilting 
the thing on one end turned its living contents 
out on the ground. They fell in a struggling 
heap one on the top of the other. He clapped 
his hands, and forthwith they went off with 
that hopping run of theirs, fifteen or twenty of 
them I should think, up the beach. 

"Increase and multiply, my friends," said 
Montgomery. " Replenish the island. Hith- 
erto we 've had a certain lack of meat here." 

As I watched them disappearing, the white- 
haired man returned with a brandy-flask and 
some biscuits. "Something to go on with, 
Prendick," said he, in a far more familiar tone 
than before. I made no ado, but set to work 
on the biscuits at once, while the white-haired 
man helped Montgomery to release about a score 
more of the rabbits. Three big hutches, how- 
ever, went up to the house with the puma. 
The brandy I did not touch, for I have been 
an abstainer from my birth. 



53 



VII. 



THE LOCKED DOOR/ 



THE reader will perhaps understand that at 
first everything was so strange about me, 
and my position was the outcome of such unex- 
pected adventures, that I had no discernment 
of the relative strangeness of this or that thing. 
I followed the llama up the beach, and was 
overtaken by Montgomery, who asked me not 
to enter the stone enclosure. I noticed then 
that the puma in its cage and the pile of pack- 
ages had been placed outside the entrance to this 
quadrangle. 

I turned and saw that the launch had now 
been unloaded, run out again, and was being 
beached, and the white-haired man was walking 
towards us. He addressed Montgomery. 

" And now comes the problem of this unin- 
vited guest. What are we to do with him ? " 

" He knows something of science," said 
Montgomery. 

" I *m itching to get to work again with 

54 



"The Locked Door." 

this new stuff," said the white-haired man, nod- 
ding towards the enclosure. His eyes grew 
brighter. 

"I daresay you are/* said Montgomery, in 
anything but a cordial tone. 

" We can't send him over there, and we can't 
spare the time to build him a new shanty ; 
and we certainly can't take him into our confi- 
dence just yet." 

"I'm in your hands," said I. I had no 
idea of what he meant by " over there." 

"I've been thinking of the same things," 
Montgomery answered. "There's my room 
with the outer door " 

" That's it," said the elder man, promptly, 
looking at Montgomery ; and all three of us 
went towards the enclosure. " I 'm sorry to 
make a mystery, Mr. Prendick; but you'll 
remember you 're uninvited. Our little establish- 
ment here contains a secret or so, is a kind of 
Blue-Beard's chamber, in fact. Nothing very 
dreadful, really, to a sane man ; but just now, 
as we don't know you " 

"Decidedly," said I, "I should be a fool to 
take offence at any want of confidence." 
55 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

He twisted his heavy mouth into a faint smile, 
he was one of those saturnine people who 
smile with the corners of the mouth down, 
and bowed his acknowledgment of my com- 
plaisance. The main entrance to the enclosure 
we passed ; it was a heavy wooden gate, framed 
in iron and locked, with the cargo of the launch 
piled outside it, and at the corner we came to a 
small doorway I had not previously observed. 
The white-haired man produced a bundle of keys 
from the pocket of his greasy bluejacket, opened 
this door, and entered. His keys, and the elabo- 
rate locking-up of the place even while it was 
still under his eye, struck me as peculiar. I 
followed him, and found myself in a small apart- 
ment, plainly but not uncomfortably furnished, 
and with its inner door, which was slightly ajar, 
opening into a paved courtyard. This inner 
door Montgomery at once closed. A hammock 
was slung across the darker corner of the room, 
and a small unglazed window defended by an 
iron bar looked out towards the sea. 

This the white-haired man told me was to be 
my apartment ; and the inner door, which " for 
fear of accidents," he said, he would lock on the 

56 



"The Locked Door." 

other side, was my limit inward. He called 
my attention to a convenient deck-chair before 
the window, and to an array of old books, 
chiefly, I found, surgical works and editions of 
the Latin and Greek classics (languages I cannot 
read with any comfort), on a shelf near the 
hammock. He left the room by the outer door, 
as if to avoid opening the inner one again. 

"We usually have our meals in here," said 
Montgomery, and then, as if in doubt, went out 
after the other. "Moreau!" I heard him 
call, and for the moment I do not think I noticed. 
Then as I handled the books on the shelf it 
came up in consciousness : Where had I heard 
the name of Moreau before ? I sat down before 
the window, took out the biscuits that still 
remained to me, and ate them with an excellent 
appetite. Moreau ! 

, Through the window I saw one of those 
unaccountable men in white, lugging a packing- 
case along the beach. Presently the window- 
frame hid him. Then I heard a key inserted 
and turned in the lock behind me. After a 
little while I heard through the locked door the 
noise of the staghounds, that had now been 
57 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

brought up from the beach. They were not 
barking, but sniffing and growling in a curious 
fashion. I could hear the rapid patter of their 
feet, and Montgomery's voice soothing them. 

I was very much impressed by the elaborate 
secrecy of these two men regarding the contents 
of the place, and for some time I was thinking 
of that and of the unaccountable familiarity of 
the name of Moreau ; but so odd is the human 
memory that I could not then recall that well- 
known name in its proper connection. From 
that my thoughts went to the indefinable queer- 
ness of the deformed man on the beach. I 
never saw such a gait, such odd motions as he 
pulled at the box. I recalled that none of these 
men had spoken to me, though most of them I 
had found looking at me at one time or another 
in a peculiarly furtive manner, quite unlike the 
frank stare of your unsophisticated savage. In- 
deed, they had all seemed remarkably taciturn, 
and when they did speak, endowed with very 
uncanny voices. What was wrong with them ? 
Then I recalled the eyes of Montgomery's 
ungainly attendant. 

Just as I was thinking of him he came in. 



"The Locked Door." 

He was now dressed in white, and carried a 
little tray with some coffee and boiled vegeta- 
bles thereon. I could hardly repress a shud- 
dering recoil as he came, bending amiably, and 
placed the tray before me on the table. Then 
astonishment paralysed me. Under his stringy 
black locks I saw his ear ; it jumped upon me 
suddenly close to my face. The man had 
pointed ears, covered with a fine brown fur ! 

" Your breakfast, sair," he said. 

I stared at his face without attempting to 
answer him. He turned and went towards the 
door, regarding me oddly over his shoulder. I 
followed him out with my eyes ; and as I did 
so, by some odd trick of unconscious cerebra- 
tion, there came surging into my head the phrase, 
"The Moreau Hollows" was it? "The 
Moreau " Ah! It sent my memory back 
ten years. "The Moreau Horrors!" The 
phrase drifted loose in my mind for a moment, 
and then I saw it in red lettering on a little 
buff-coloured pamphlet, to read which made 
one shiver and creep. Then I remembered 
distinctly all about it. That long-forgotten 
pamphlet came back with startling vividness to 
59 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

my mind. I had been a mere lad then, and 
Moreau was, I suppose, about fifty, a promi- 
nent and masterful physiologist, well-known in 
scientific circles for his extraordinary imagina- 
tion and his brutal directness in discussion. 

Was this the same Moreau ? He had pub- 
lished some very astonishing facts in connection 
with the transfusion of blood, and in addition 
was known to be doing valuable work on mor- 
bid growths. Then suddenly his career was 
closed. He had to leave England. A journal- 
ist obtained access to his laboratory in the capa- 
city of laboratory-assistant, with the deliberate 
intention of making sensational exposures ; and 
by the help of a shocking accident (if it was an 
accident), his gruesome pamphlet became noto- 
rious. On the day of its publication a wretched 
dog, flayed and otherwise mutilated, escaped 
from Moreau' s house. It was in the silly sea- 
son, and a prominent editor, a cousin of the 
temporary laboratory-assistant, appealed to the 
conscience of the nation. It was not the first 
time that conscience has turned against the 
methods of research. The doctor was simply 
howled out of the country. It may be that he 
60 



"The Locked Door." 

deserved to be ; but I still think that the tepid 
support of his fellow-investigators and his deser- 
tion by the great body of scientific workers was 
a shameful thing. Yet some of his experiments, 
by the journalist's account, were wantonly cruel. 
He might perhaps have purchased his social peace 
by abandoning his investigations ; but he appar- 
ently preferred the latter, as most men would 
who have once fallen under the overmastering 
spell of research. He was unmarried, and had 
indeed nothing but his own interest to consider. 

I felt convinced that this must be the same 
man. Everything pointed to it. It dawned 
upon me to what end the puma and the other 
animals which had now been brought with 
other luggage into the enclosure behind the 
house were destined ; and a curious faint 
odour, the halitus of something familiar, an 
odour that had been in the background of my 
consciousness hitherto, suddenly came forward 
into the forefront of my thoughts. It was the 
antiseptic odour of the dissecting-room. I heard 
the puma growling through the wall, and one 
of the dogs yelped as though it had been struck. 

Yet surely, and especially to another scien- 
61 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

tific man, there was nothing so horrible in vivi- 
section as to account for this secrecy ; and by 
some odd leap in my thoughts the pointed ears 
and luminous eyes of Montgomery's attendant 
came back again before me with the sharpest 
definition. I stared before me out at the green 
sea, frothing under a freshening breeze, and let 
these and other strange memories of the last 
few days chase one another through my mind. 

What could it all mean ? A locked enclosure 
on a lonely island, a notorious vivisector, and 
these crippled and distorted men ? 



62 



VIII. 

THE CRYING OF THE PUMA. 

JV/l ONTGOMERY interrupted my tangle of 
* * mystification and suspicion about one 
o'clock, and his grotesque attendant followed 
him with a tray bearing bread, some herbs and 
other eatables, a flask of whiskey, a jug of water, 
and three glasses and knives. I glanced askance 
at this strange creature, and found him watch- 
ing me with his queer, restless eyes. Mont- 
gomery said he would lunch with me, but that 
Moreau was too preoccupied with some work 
to come. 

" Moreau ! " said I. " I know that name." 
" The devil you do ! " said he. " What an 
ass I was to mention it to you ! I might have 
thought. Anyhow, it will give you an inkling 
of our mysteries. Whiskey ? ' ' 
"No, thanks; Pm an abstainer." 
" I wish I 'd been. But it *s no use locking 

63 



. 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 



the door after the steed is stolen. It was that 
infernal stuff which led to my coming here, 
that, and a foggy night. I thought myself in 
luck at the time, when Moreau offered to get 
me off. It's queer " 

"Montgomery," said I, suddenly, as the 
outer door closed, " why has your man pointed 
ears?" 

"Damn!" he said, over his first mouthful 
of food. He stared at me for a moment, and 
then repeated, " Pointed ears ? " 

"Little points to them," said I, as calmly 
as possible, with a catch in my breath ; " and 
a fine black fur at the edges ? " 

He helped himself to whiskey and water with 
great deliberation. ' I was under the impres- 
sion that his hair covered his ears." 

"I saw them as he stooped by me to put 
that coffee you sent to me on the table. And 
his eyes shine in the dark." 

By this time Montgomery had recovered from 
the surprise of my question. " I always 
thought," he said deliberately, with a certain 
accentuation of his flavouring of lisp, "that 
there was something the matter with his ears, 



The Crying of the Puma. 

from the way he covered them. What were 
they like?" 

I was persuaded from his manner that this 
ignorance was a pretence. Still, I could hardly 
tell the man that I thought him a liar. 
"Pointed," I said ; " rather small and furry, 
distinctly furry. But the whole man is one of 
the strangest beings I ever set eyes on." 

A sharp, hoarse cry of animal pain came 
from the enclosure behind us. Its depth and 
volume testified to the puma. I saw Mont- 
gomery wince. 

"Yes?" he said. 

" Where did you pick up the creature ? " 

"San Francisco. He's an ugly brute, I 
admit. Half-witted, you know. Can't remem- 
ber where he came from. But I 'm used to 
him, you know. We both are. How does 
he strike you ? ' ' 

" He 's unnatural," I said. " There 's some- 
thing about him don't think me fanciful, but 
it gives me a nasty little sensation, a tightening 
of my muscles, when he comes near me. It 's 
a touch of the diabolical, in fact." 

Montgomery had stopped eating while I told 
5 65 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

him this. " Rum ! " he said. " /can't see it." 
He resumed his meal. " I had no idea of it," 
he said, and masticated. " The crew of the 
schooner must have felt it the same. Made a 
dead set at the poor devil. You saw the cap- 
tain?" 

Suddenly the puma howled again, this time 
more painfully. Montgomery swore under his 
breath. I had half a mind to attack him about 
the men on the beach. Then the poor brute 
within gave vent to a series of short, sharp 
cries. 

"Your men on the beach," said I ; "what 
race are they ? " 

" Excellent fellows, aren't they ?" said he, 
absent-mindedly, knitting his brows as the ani- 
mal yelled out sharply. 

I said no more. There was another outcry 
worse than the former. He looked at me with 
his dull grey eyes, and then took some more 
whiskey. He tried to draw me into a discus- 
sion about alcohol, professing to have saved my 
life with it. He seemed anxious to lay stress 
on the fact that I owed my life to him. I 
answered him distractedly. 
66 



The Crying of the Puma. 

Presently our meal came to an end ; the mis- 
shapen monster with the pointed ears cleared 
the remains away, and Montgomery left me 
alone in the room again. All the time he had 
been in a state of ill-concealed irritation at the 
noise of the vivisected puma. He had spoken 
of his odd want of nerve, and left me to the 
obvious application. 

I found myself that the cries were singularly 
irritating, and they grew in depth and intensity 
as the afternoon wore on. They were painful 
at first, but their constant resurgence at last alto- 
gether upset my balance. I flung aside a crib 
of Horace I had been reading, and began to 
clench my fists, to bite my lips, and to pace the 
room. Presently I got to stopping my ears 
with my fingers. 

The emotional appeal of those yells grew 
upon me steadily, grew at last to such an exqui- 
site expression of suffering that I could stand it 
in that confined room no longer. I stepped 
out of the door into the slumberous heat of the 
late afternoon, and walking past the main 
entrance locked again, I noticed turned the 
corner of the wall. 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

The crying sounded even louder out of doors. 
It was as if all the pain in the world had found 
a voice. Yet had I known such pain was in 
the next room, and had it been dumb, I believe 
I have thought since I could have stood it 
well enough. It is when suffering finds a voice 
and sets our nerves quivering that this pity comes 
troubling us. But in spite of the brilliant sun- 
light and the green fans of the trees waving in 
the soothing sea-breeze, the world was a con- 
fusion, blurred with drifting black and red 
phantasms, until I was out of earshot of the 
house in the chequered wall. 



68 



IX. 

THE THING IN THE FOREST. 

T STRODE through the undergrowth that 
* clothed the ridge behind the house, scarcely- 
heeding whither I went ; passed on through the 
shadow of a thick cluster of straight-stemmed 
trees beyond it, and so presently found myself 
some way on the other side of the ridge, and 
descending towards a streamlet that ran through 
a narrow valley. I paused and listened. The 
distance I had come, or the intervening masses 
of thicket, deadened any sound that might be 
coming from the enclosure. The air was still. 
Then with a rustle a rabbit emerged, and went 
scampering up the slope before me. I hesitated, 
and sat down in the edge of the shade. 

The place was a pleasant one. The rivulet 
was hidden by the luxuriant vegetation of the 
banks save at one point, where I caught a trian- 
gular patch of its glittering water. On the 
farther side I saw through a bluish haze a tangle 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

of trees and creepers, and above these again the 
luminous blue of the sky. Here and there a 
splash of white or crimson marked the blooming 
of some trailing epiphyte. I let my eyes wan- 
der over this scene for a while, and then began 
to turn over in my mind again the strange pecu- 
liarities of Montgomery* 8 man. But it was too 
hot to think elaborately, and presently I fell into 
a tranquil state midway between dozing and 
waking. 

From this I was aroused, after I know not 
how long, by a rustling amidst the greenery on 
the other side of the stream. For a moment I 
could see nothing but the waving summits of 
the ferns and reeds. Then suddenly upon the 
bank of the stream appeared Something at 
first I could not distinguish what it was. It 
bowed its round head to the water, and began to 
drink. Then I saw it was a man, going on all- 
fours like a beast. He was clothed in bluish 
cloth, and was of a copper- coloured hue, with 
black hair. It seemed that grotesque ugliness 
was an invariable character of these islanders. 
I could hear the suck of the water at his lips as 
he drank. 

70 



The Thing in the Forest. 

I leant forward to see him better, and a 
piece of lava, detached by my hand, went pat- 
tering down the slope. He looked up guiltily, 
and his eyes met mine. Forthwith he scram- 
bled to his feet, and stood wiping his clumsy 
hand across his mouth and regarding me. His 
legs were scarcely half the length of his body. 
So, staring one another out of countenance, we 
remained for perhaps the space of a minute. 
Then, stopping to look back once or twice, he 
slunk off among the bushes to the right of me, 
and I heard the swish of the fronds grow faint 
in the distance and die away. Long after he 
had disappeared, I remained sitting up staring in 
the direction of his retreat. My drowsy tran- 
quillity had gone. 

I was startled by a noise behind me, and 
turning suddenly saw the flapping white tail of 
a rabbit vanishing up the slope. I jumped to 
my feet. The apparition of this grotesque, 
half-bestial creature had suddenly populated the 
stillness of the afternoon for me. I looked 
around me rather nervously, and regretted that 
I was unarmed. Then I thought that the man 
I had just seen had been clothed in bluish cloth, 
7* 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 



had not been naked as a savage would have 
been ; and I tried to persuade myself from that 
fact that he was after all probably a peaceful 
character, that the dull ferocity of his counte- 
nance belied him. 

Yet I was greatly disturbed at the apparition. 
I walked to the left along the slope, turning my 
head about, and peering this way and that 
among the straight stems of the trees. Why 
should a man go on all-fours and drink with his 
lips ? Presently I heard an animal wailing 
again, and taking it to be the puma, I turned 
about and walked in a direction diametrically 
opposite to the sound. This led me down to 
the stream, across which I stepped and pushed 
my way up through the undergrowth beyond. 

I was startled by a great patch of vivid scar- 
let on the ground, and going up to it found it 
to be a peculiar fungus, branched and corru- 
gated like a foliaceous lichen, but deliquescing 
into slime at the touch ; and then in the shadow 
of some luxuriant ferns I came upon an unpleas- 
ant thing, the dead body of a rabbit covered 
with shining flies, but still warm and with the 
head torn off. I stopped aghast at the sight of 
72 




The Thing in the Forest. 

the scattered blood. Here at least was one 
visitor to the island disposed of ! There were 
no traces of other violence about it. It looked 
as though it had been suddenly snatched up and 
killed ; and as I stared at the little furry body 
came the difficulty of how the thing had been 
done. The vague dread that had been in my 
mind since I had seen the inhuman face of the 
man at the stream grew distincter as I stood 
there. I began to realise the hardihood of my 
expedition among these unknown people. The 
thicket about me became altered to my imagina- 
tion. Every shadow became something more 
than a shadow, became an ambush ; every 
rustle became a threat. Invisible things seemed 
watching me. I resolved to go back to the 
enclosure on the beach. I suddenly turned 
away and thrust myself violently, possibly even 
frantically, through the bushes, anxious to get a 
clear space about me again. 

I stopped just in time to prevent myself 
emerging upon an open space. It was a kind 
of glade in the forest, made by a fall ; seedlings 
were already starting up to struggle for the 
vacant space ; and beyond, the dense growth 
73 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

of stems and twining vines and splashes of fungus 
and flowers closed in again. Before me, squat- 
ting together upon the fungoid ruins of a huge 
fallen tree and still unaware of my approach, 
were three grotesque human figures. One was 
evidently a female ; the other two were men. 
They were naked, save for swathings of scarlet 
cloth about the middle ; and their skins were 
of a dull pinkish-drab colour, such as I had seen 
in no savages before. They had fat, heavy, 
chinless faces, retreating foreheads, and a scant 
bristly hair upon their heads. I never saw such 
bestial-looking creatures. 

They were talking, or at least one of the 
men was talking to the other two, and all three 
had been too closely interested to heed the 
rustling of my approach. They swayed their 
heads and shoulders from side to side. The 
speaker's words came thick and sloppy, and 
though I could hear them distinctly I could not 
distinguish what he said. He seemed to me to 
be reciting some complicated gibberish. Pres- 
ently his articulation became shriller, and spread- 
ing his hands he rose to his feet. At that the 
others began to gibber in unison, also rising to 
74 



The Thing in the Forest. 

their feet, spreading their hands and swaying 
their bodies in rhythm with their chant. I 
noticed then the abnormal shortness of their 
legs, and their lank, clumsy feet. All three 
began slowly to circle round, raising and stamp- 
ing their feet and waving their arms ; a kind of 
tune crept into their rhythmic recitation, and a re- 
frain, " Aloola, " or Balloola," it sounded 
like. Their eyes began to sparkle, and their 
ugly faces to brighten, with an expression of 
strange pleasure. Saliva dripped from their 
lipless mouths. 

Suddenly, as I watched their grotesque and 
unaccountable gestures, I perceived clearly for 
the first time what it was that had offended me, 
what had given me the two inconsistent and 
conflicting impressions of utter strangeness and 
yet of the strangest familiarity. The three 
creatures engaged in this mysterious rite were 
human in shape, and yet human beings with the 
strangest air about them of some familiar animal. 
Each of these creatures, despite its human form, 
its rag of clothing, and the rough humanity of its 
bodily form, had woven into it into its move- 
ments, into the expression of its countenance, 

75 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

into its whole presence some now irresistible 
suggestion of a hog, a swinish taint, the unmis- 
takable mark of the beast. 

I stood overcome by this amazing realisation ; 
and then the most horrible questionings came 
rushing into my mind. They began leaping in 
the air, first one and then the other, whooping 
and grunting. Then one slipped, and for a 
moment was on all-fours, to recover, indeed, 
forthwith. But that transitory gleam of the 
true animalism of these monsters was enough. 

I turned as noiselessly as possible, and be- 
coming every now and then rigid with the fear 
of being discovered, as a branch cracked or a 
leaf rustled, I pushed back into the bushes. It 
was long before I grew bolder, and dared to 
move freely. My only idea for the moment 
was to get away from these foul beings, and I 
scarcely noticed that I had emerged upon a 
faint pathway amidst the trees. Then suddenly 
traversing a little glade, I saw with an unpleas- 
ant start two clumsy legs among the trees, walk- 
ing with noiseless footsteps parallel with my 
course, and perhaps thirty yards away from me. 
The head and upper part of the body were 



The Thing in the Forest. 

hidden by a tangle of creeper. I stopped 
abruptly, hoping the creature did not see me. 
The feet stopped as I did. So nervous was I 
that I controlled an impulse to headlong flight 
with the utmost difficulty. Then looking hard, 
I distinguished through the interlacing network 
the head and body of the brute I had seen 
drinking. He moved his head. There was an 
emerald flash in his eyes as he glanced at me 
from the shadow of the trees, a half-luminous 
colour that vanished as he turned his head again. 
He was motionless for a moment, and then 
with a noiseless tread began running through 
the green confusion. In another moment he 
had vanished behind some bushes. I could not 
see him, but I felt that he had stopped and was 
watching me again. 

What on earth was he, man or beast ? 
What did he want with me ? I had no weapon, 
not even a stick. Flight would be madness. 
At any rate the Thing, whatever it was, lacked 
the courage to attack me. Setting my teeth 
hard, I walked straight towards him. I was 
anxious not to show the fear that seemed chill- 
ing my backbone. I pushed through a tangle 

77 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

of tall white-flowered bushes, and saw him 
twenty paces beyond, looking over his shoulder 
at me and hesitating. I advanced a step or 
two, looking steadfastly into his eyes. 

" Who are you ? " said I. 

He tried to meet my gaze. "No!" he 
said suddenly, and turning went bounding away 
from me through the undergrowth. Then he 
turned and stared at me again. His eyes shone 
brightly out of the dusk under the trees. 

My heart was in my mouth ; but I felt my 
only chance was bluff, and walked steadily 
towards him. He turned again, and vanished 
into the dusk. Once more I thought I caught 
the glint of his eyes, and that was all. 

For the first time I realised how the lateness 
of the hour might affect me. The sun had set 
some minutes since, the swift dusk of the tropics 
was already fading out of the eastern sky, and a 
pioneer moth fluttered silently by my head. 
Unless I would spend the night among the 
unknown dangers of the mysterious forest, I 
must hasten back to the enclosure. The thought 
of a return to that pain-haunted refuge was 
extremely disagreeable, but still more so was 

78 



The Thing in the Forest. 

the idea of being overtaken in the open by dark- 
ness and all that darkness might conceal. I 
gave one more look into the blue shadows that 
had swallowed up this odd creature, and then 
retraced my way down the slope towards the 
stream, going as I judged in the direction from 
which I had come. 

I walked eagerly, my mind confused with 
many things, and presently found myself in a 
level place among scattered trees. The colour- 
less clearness that comes after the sunset flush 
was darkling ; the blue sky above grew momen- 
tarily deeper, and the little stars one by one 
pierced the attenuated light ; the interspaces of 
the trees, the gaps in the further vegetation, that 
had been hazy blue in the daylight, grew black 
and mysterious. I pushed on. The colour 
vanished from the world. The tree-tops rose 
against the luminous blue sky in inky silhouette, 
and all below that outline melted into one form- 
less blackness. Presently the trees grew thinner, 
and the shrubby undergrowth more abundant. 
Then there was a desolate space covered with a 
white sand, and then another expanse of tangled 
bushes. I did not remember crossing the sand- 
79 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

opening before. I began to be tormented by a 
faint rustling upon my right hand. I thought 
at first it was fancy, for whenever I stopped 
there was silence, save for the evening breeze 
in the tree-tops. Then when I turned to hurry 
on again there was an echo to my footsteps. 

I turned away from the thickets, keeping to 
the more open ground, and endeavouring by 
sudden turns now and then to surprise some- 
thing in the act of creeping upon me. I saw 
nothing, and nevertheless my sense of another 
presence grew steadily. I increased my pace, 
and after some time came to a slight ridge, 
crossed it, and turned sharply, regarding it 
steadfastly from the further side. It came out 
black and clear-cut against the darkling sky ; 
and presently a shapeless lump heaved up momen- 
tarily against the sky-line and vanished again. 
I felt assured now that my tawny-faced antago- 
nist was stalking me once more ; and coupled 
with that was another unpleasant realisation, 
that I had lost my way. 

For a time I hurried on hopelessly perplexed, 
and pursued by that stealthy approach. What- 
ever it was, the Thing either lacked the courage 
80 



The Thing in the Forest. 

to attack me, or it was waiting to take me at 
some disadvantage. I kept studiously to the 
open. At times I would turn and listen ; and 
presently I had half persuaded myself that my 
pursuer had abandoned the chase, or was a 
mere creation of my disordered imagination. 
Then I heard the sound of the sea. I quickened 
my footsteps almost into a run, and immediately 
there was a stumble in my rear. 

I turned suddenly, and stared at the uncertain 
trees behind me. One black shadow seemed to 
leap into another. I listened, rigid, and heard 
nothing but the creep of the blood in my ears. 
I thought that my nerves were unstrung, and 
that my imagination was tricking me, and turned 
resolutely towards the sound of the sea again. 

In a minute or so the trees grew thinner, and 
I emerged upon a bare, low headland running 
out into the sombre water. The night was 
calm and clear, and the reflection of the growing 
multitude of the stars shivered in the tranquil 
heaving of the sea. Some way out, the wash 
upon an irregular band of reef shone with a 
pallid light of its own. Westward I saw the 
zodiacal light mingling with the yellow 
6 81 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

liance of the evening star. The coast fell away 
from me to the east, and westward it was hidden 
by the shoulder of the cape. Then I recalled 
the fact that Moreau' s beach lay to the west. 

A twig snapped behind me, and there was a 
rustle. I turned, and stood facing the dark trees. 
I could see nothing or else I could see too 
much. Every dark form in the dimness had its 
ominous quality, its peculiar suggestion of alert 
watchfulness. So I stood for perhaps a minute, 
and then, with an eye to the trees still, turned 
westward to cross the headland ; and as I 
moved, one among the lurking shadows moved 
to follow me. 

My heart beat quickly. Presently the broad 
sweep of a bay to the westward became visible, 
and I halted again. The noiseless shadow 
halted a dozen yards from me. A little point 
of light shone on the further bend of the curve, 
and the grey sweep of the sandy beach lay feint 
under the starlight. Perhaps two miles away 
was that little point of light. To get to the 
beach I should have to go through the trees 
where the shadows lurked, and down a bushy 
slope'. 

82 



The Thing in the Forest. 

I could see the Thing rather more distinctly 
now. It was no animal, for it stood erect. 
At that I opened my mouth to speak, and found 
a hoarse phlegm choked my voice. I tried 
again, and shouted, "Who is there?" There 
was no answer. I advanced a step. The 
Thing did not move, only gathered itself 
together. My foot struck a stone. That gave 
me an idea. Without taking my eyes off the 
black form before me, I stooped and picked 
up this lump of rock ; but at my motion the 
Thing turned abruptly as a dog might have 
done, and slunk obliquely into the further dark- 
ness. Then I recalled a schoolboy expedient 
against big dogs, and twisted the rock into my 
handkerchief, and gave this a turn round my 
wrist. I heard a movement further off among 
the shadows, as if the Thing was in retreat. 
Then suddenly my tense excitement gave way ; 
I broke into a profuse perspiration and fell a- 
trembling, with my adversary routed and this 
weapon in my hand. 

It was some time before I could summon 
resolution to go down through the trees and 
bushes upon the flank of the headland to the 

83 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

beach. At last I did it at a run ; and as I 
emerged from the thicket upon the sand, I heard 
some other body come crashing after me. At 
that I completely lost my head with fear, and 
began running along the sand. Forthwith there 
came the swift patter of soft feet in pursuit. I 
gave a wild cry, and redoubled my pace. 
Some dim, black things about three or four times 
the size of rabbits went running or hopping up 
from the beach towards the bushes as I passed. 

So long as I live, I shall remember the terror 
of that chase. I ran near the water's edge, and 
heard every now and then the splash of the feet 
that gained upon me. Far away, hopelessly far, 
was the yellow light. All the night about us 
was black and still. Splash, splash, came the 
pursuing feet, nearer and nearer. I felt my 
breath going, for I was quite out of training ; it 
whooped as I drew it, and I felt a pain like a 
knife at my side. I perceived the Thing would 
come up with me long before I reached the 
enclosure, and, desperate and sobbing for my 
breath, I wheeled round upon it and struck at 
it as it came up to me, struck with all my 
strength. The stone came out of the sling of 



The Thing in the Forest. 

the handkerchief as I did so. As I turned, the 
Thing, which had been running on all-fours, 
rose to its feet, and the missile fell fair on its 
left temple. The skull rang loud, and the 
animal-man blundered into me, thrust me back 
with its hands, and went staggering past me to 
fall headlong upon the sand with its face in the 
water ; and there it lay still. 

I could not bring myself to approach that 
black heap. I left it there, with the water 
rippling round it, under the still stars, and giv- 
ing it a wide berth pursued my way towards 
the yellow glow of the house ; and presently, 
with a positive effect of relief, came the pitiful 
moaning of the puma, the sound that had origi- 
nally driven me out to explore this mysterious 
island. At that, though I was faint and hor- 
ribly fatigued, I gathered together all my 
strength, and began running again towards the 
light. I thought I heard a voice calling me. 



X. 



THE CRYING OF THE MAN. 

A S I drew near the house I saw that the light 
** shone from the open door of my room ; 
and then I heard coming from out of the dark- 
ness at the side of that orange oblong of light, 
the voice of Montgomery shouting, " Pren- 
dick!" I continued running. Presently I 
heard him again. I replied by a feeble 
"Hullo!" and in another moment had stag- 
gered up to him. 

" Where have you been ? " said he, holding 
me at arm's length, so that the light from the 
door fell on my face. " We have both been 
so busy that we forgot you until about half an 
hour ago." He led me into the room and set 
me down in the deck chair. For awhile I was 
blinded by the light. " We did not think you 
would start to explore this island of ours with- 
out telling us," he said; and then, "I was 
afraid But what Hullo ! ' ' 
86 



The Crying of the Man. 

My last remaining strength slipped from me, 
and my head fell forward on my chest. I 
think he found a certain satisfaction in giving 
me brandy. 

" For God's sake," said I," fasten that door." 

"You've been meeting some of our curi- 
osities, eh ? " said he. 

He locked the door and turned to me again. 
He asked me no questions, but gave me some 
more brandy and water and pressed me to eat. 
I was in a state of collapse. He said some- 
thing vague about his forgetting to warn me, 
and asked me briefly when I left the house and 
what I had seen. 

I answered him as briefly, in fragmentary 
sentences. "Tell me what it all means," 
said I, in a state bordering on hysterics. 

"It's nothing so very dreadful," said he. 
" But I think you have had about enough for 
one day." The puma suddenly gave a sharp 
yell of pain. At that he swore under his 
breath. "I'm damned," said he, "if this 
place is not as bad as Gower Street, with its 
cats." 

"Montgomery," said I, "what was that 

87 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

thing that came after me ? Was it a beast or 
was it a man? " 

"If you don't sleep to-night/' he said, 
"you'll be off your head to-morrow." 

I stood up in front of him. " What was 
that thing that came after me?" I asked. 

He looked me squarely in the eyes, and 
twisted his mouth askew. His eyes, which had 
seemed animated a minute before, went dull. 
"From your account," said he, "I'm think- 
ing it was a bogle." 

I felt a gust of intense irritation, which 
passed as quickly as it came. I flung myself 
into the chair again, and pressed my hands on 
my forehead. The puma began once more. 

Montgomery came round behind me and 
put his hand on my shoulder. " Look here, 
Prendick," he said, "I had no business to let 
you drift out into this silly island of ours. But 
it 's not so bad as you feel, man. Your nerves 
are worked to rags. Let me give you some- 
thing that will make you sleep. That will 
keep on for hours yet. You must simply get 
to sleep, or I won't answer for it." 

I did not reply. I bowed forward, and 
88 



The Crying of the Man. 

covered my face with my hands. Presently he 
returned with a small measure containing a dark 
liquid. This he gave me. I took it unresist- 
ingly, and he helped me into the hammock. 

When I awoke, it was broad day. For a 
little while I lay flat, staring at the roof above 
me. The rafters, I observed, were made out 
of the timbers of a ship. Then I turned my 
head, and saw a meal prepared for me on the 
table. I perceived that I was hungry, and 
prepared to clamber out of the hammock, 
which, very politely anticipating my intention, 
twisted round and deposited me upon all-fours 
on the floor. 

I got up and sat down before the food. I 
had a heavy feeling in my head, and only the 
vaguest memory at first of the things that had 
happened over night. The morning breeze 
blew very pleasantly through the unglazed 
window, and that and the food contributed to 
the sense of animal comfort which I expe- 
rienced. Presently the door behind me the 
door inward towards the yard of the enclosure 
opened. I turned and saw Montgomery's 
face. 

89 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

"All right/' said he. "I'm frightfully 
busy." And he shut the door. 

Afterwards I discovered that he forgot to re- 
lock it. Then I recalled the expression of his 
face the previous night, and with that the 
memory of all I had experienced reconstructed 
itself before me. Even as that fear came back 
to me came a cry from within ; but this time 
it was not the cry of a puma. I put down the 
mouthful that hesitated upon my lips, and lis- 
tened. Silence, save for the whisper of the 
morning breeze. I began to think my ears had 
deceived me. 

After a long pause I resumed my meal, but 
with my ears still vigilant. Presently I heard 
something else, very faint and low. I sat as if 
frozen in my attitude. Though it was faint and 
low, it moved me more profoundly than all that 
I had hitherto heard of the abominations behind 
the wall. There was no mistake this time in 
the quality of the dim, broken sounds ; no 
doubt at all of their source. For it was groan- 
ing, broken by sobs and gasps of anguish. It 
was no brute this time ; it was a human being 
in torment! 

90 



The Crying of the Man. 

As I realised this I rose, and in three steps had 
crossed the room, seized the handle of the door 
into the yard, and flung it open before me. 

" Prendick, man ! Stop ! " cried Mont- 
gomery, intervening. 

A startled deerhound yelped and snarled. 
There was blood, I saw, in the sink, brown, 
and some scarlet, and I smelt the peculiar 
smell of carbolic acid. Then through an open 
doorway beyond, in the dim light of the shadow, 
I saw something bound painfully upon a frame- 
work, scarred, red, and bandaged ; and then 
blotting this out appeared the face of old 
Moreau, white and terrible. In a moment he 
had gripped me by the shoulder with a hand 
that was smeared red, had twisted me off my 
feet, and flung me headlong back into my own 
room. He lifted me as though I was a little 
child. I fell at full length upon the floor, and 
the door slammed and shut out the passionate 
intensity of his face. Then I heard the key 
turn in the lock, and Montgomery's voice in 
expostulation. 

" Ruin the work of a lifetime," I heard 
Moreau say. 

9* 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

" He does not understand,' ' said Montgomery, 
and other things that were inaudible. 

"I can't spare the time yet," said Moreau. 

The rest I did not hear. I picked myself 
up and stood trembling, my mind a chaos of the 
most horrible misgivings. Could it be possible, 
I thought, that such a thing as the vivisection 
of men was carried on here ? The question 
shot like lightning across a tumultuous sky ; 
and suddenly the clouded horror of my mind 
condensed into a vivid realisation of my own 
danger. 



92 



XI. 

THE HUNTING OF THE MAN. 

TT came before my mind with an unreason- 
* able hope of escape that the outer door of 
my room was still open to me. I was con- 
vinced now, absolutely assured, that Moreau 
had been vivisecting a human being. All the 
time since I had heard his name, I had been 
trying to link in my mind in some way the 
grotesque animalism of the islanders with his 
abominations ; and now I thought I saw it all. 
The memory of his work on the transfusion of 
blood recurred to me. These creatures I had 
seen were the victims of some hideous experi- 
ment. These sickening scoundrels had merely 
intended to keep me back, to fool me with 
their display of confidence, and presently to fall 
upon me with a fate more horrible than death, 

with torture ; and after torture the most 
hideous degradation it was possible to conceive, 

to send me off a lost soul, a beast, to the rest 
of their Comus rout. 

93 



nfViino 



The Island of Doctor Morcau. 



I looked round for some weapon. Nothing. 
Then with an inspiration I turned over the 
deck chair, put my foot on the side of it, and 
tore away the side rail. It happened that a 
nail came away with the wood, and projecting, 
gave a touch of danger to an otherwise petty 
weapon. I heard a step outside, and incon- 
tinently flung open the door and found Mont- 
gomery within a yard of it. He meant to 
lock the outer door ! I raised this nailed stick 
of mine and cut at his face ; but he sprang 
back. I hesitated a moment, then turned and 
fled round the corner of the house. " Prendick, 
man !" I heard his astonished cry, "don't be 
a silly ass, man ! " 

Another minute, thought I, and he would 
have had me locked in, and as ready as a 
hospital rabbit for my fate. He emerged 
behind the corner, for I heard him shout, 
"Prendick!" Then he began to run after 
me, shouting things as he ran. This time run- 
ning blindly, I went northeastward in a direc- 
tion at right angles to my previous expedition. 
Once, as I went running headlong up the beach, 
I glanced over my shoulder and saw his attend- 
94 



The Hunting of the Man. 

ant with him. I ran furiously up the slope, over 
it, then turning eastward along a rocky valley 
fringed on either side with jungle I ran for per- 
haps a mile altogether, my chest straining, my 
heart beating in my ears; and then hearing 
nothing of Montgomery or his man, and feeling 
upon the verge of exhaustion, I doubled sharply 
back towards the beach as I judged, and lay 
down in the shelter of a canebrake. There I 
remained for a long time, too fearful to move, 
and indeed too fearful even to plan a course of 
action. The wild scene about me lay sleeping 
silently under the sun, and the only sound near 
me was the thin hum of some small gnats that 
had discovered me. Presently I became aware 
of a drowsy breathing sound, the soughing of 
the sea upon the beach. 

After about an hour I heard Montgomery 
shouting my name, far away to the north. 
That set me thinking of my plan of action. 
As I interpreted it then, this island was in- 
habited only by these two vivisectors and their 
animalised victims. Some of these no doubt 
they could press into their service against me if 
need arose. I knew both Moreau and Mont- 

95 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

gomery carried revolvers ; and, save for a feeble 
bar of deal spiked with a small nail, the merest 
mockery of a mace, I was unarmed. 

So I lay still there, until I began to think of 
food and drink ; and at that thought the real 
hopelessness of my position came home to me. 
I knew no way of getting anything to eat. I 
was too ignorant of botany to discover any resort 
of root or fruit that might lie about me ; I had 
no means of trapping the few rabbits upon the 
island. It grew blanker the more I turned the 
prospect over. At last in the desperation of my 
position, my mind turned to the animal men I 
had encountered. I tried to find some hope in 
what I remembered of them. In turn I recalled 
each one I had seen, and tried to draw some 
augury of assistance from my memory. 

Then suddenly I heard a stag-hound bay, 
and at that realised a new danger. I took little 
time to think, or they would have caught me 
then, but snatching up my nailed stick, rushed 
headlong from my hiding-place towards the 
sound of the sea. I remember a growth of 
thorny plants, with spines that stabbed like pen- 
knives. I emerged bleeding and with torn 



The Hunting of the Man. 

clothes upon the lip of a long creek opening 
northward. I went straight into the water 
without a minute's hesitation, wading up the 
creek, and presently finding myself kneedeep in 
a little stream. I scrambled out at last on the 
westward bank, and with my heart beating 
loudly in my ears, crept into a tangle of ferns 
to await the issue. I heard the dog (there was 
only one) draw nearer, and yelp when it came 
to the thorns. Then I heard no more, and 
presently began to think I had escaped. 

The minutes passed ; the silence lengthened 
out, and at last after an hour of security my 
courage began to return to me. By this time 
I was no longer very much terrified or very 
miserable. I had, as it were, passed the limit 
of terror and despair. I felt now that my life 
was practically lost, and that persuasion made 
me capable of daring anything. I had even a 
certain wish to encounter Moreau face to face ; 
and as I had waded into the water, I remem- 
bered that if I were too hard pressed at least one 
path of escape from torment still lay open to 
me, they could not very well prevent my 
drowning myself. I had half a mind to drown 
7 97 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

myself then ; but an odd wish to see the whole 
adventure out, a queer, impersonal, spectacular 
interest in myself, restrained me. I stretched 
my limbs, sore and painful from the pricks of 
the spiny plants, and stared around me at the 
trees ; and, so suddenly that it seemed to jump 
out of the green tracery about it, my eyes lit 
upon a black face watching me. I saw that it 
was the simian creature who had met the launch 
upon the beach. He was clinging to the oblique 
stem of a palm-tree. I gripped my stick, and 
stood up facing him. He began chattering. 
"You, you, you," was all I could distinguish 
at first. Suddenly he dropped from the tree, 
and in another moment was holding the fronds 
apart and staring curiously at me. 

I did not feel the same repugnance towards 
this creature which I had experienced in my 
encounters with the other Beast Men. " You, 
he said, "in the boat." He was a man, then, 
at least as much of a man as Montgomery's 
attendant, for he could talk. 

" Yes," I said, " I came in the boat. From 
the ship." 

"Oh! " he said, and his bright, restless eyes 



The Hunting of the Man. 

travelled over me, to my hands, to the stick I 
carried, to my feet, to the tattered places in my 
coat, and the cuts and scratches I had received 
from the thorns. He seemed puzzled at some- 
thing. His eyes came back to my hands. He 
held his own hand out and counted his digits 
slowly, " One, two, three, four, five eigh ?" 

I did not grasp his meaning then ; afterwards 
I was to find that a great proportion of these 
Beast People had malformed hands, lacking 
sometimes even three digits. But guessing this 
was in some way a greeting, I did the same 
thing by way of reply. He grinned with 
immense satisfaction. Then his swift roving 
glance went round again ; he made a swift 
movement and vanished. The fern fronds 
he had stood between came swishing together- 

I pushed out of the brake after him, and was 
astonished to find him swinging cheerfully by 
one lank arm from a rope of creeper that looped 
down from the foliage overhead. His back was 
to me. 

"Hullo!" said I. 

He came down with a twisting jump, and 
stood facing me. 

99 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

"I say," said I, "where can I get some- 
thing to eat ? " 

" Eat! " he said. " Eat Man's food, now." 
And his eye went back to the swing of ropes. 
"At the huts." 

" But where are the huts ? " 

"Oh!" 

"I J m new, you know." 

At that he swung round, and set off at a 
quick walk. All his motions were curiously 
rapid. "Come along," said he. 

I went with him to see the adventure out. I 
guessed the huts were some rough shelter where 
he and some more of these Beast People lived. 
I might perhaps find them friendly, find some 
handle in their minds to take hold of. I did 
not know how far they had forgotten their 
human heritage. 

My ape-like companion trotted along by my 
side, with his hands hanging down and his jaw 
thrust forward. I wondered what memory he 
might have in him. "How long have you 
been on this island?" said I. 

" How long ? " he asked ; and after having 
the question repeated, he held up three fingers. 
100 



The Hunting of the Man. 

The creature was little better than an idiot. 
I tried to make out what he meant by that, and 
it seems I bored him. After another question 
or two he suddenly left my side and went leap- 
ing at some fruit that hung from a tree. He 
pulled down a handful of prickly husks and 
went on eating the contents. I noted this 
with satisfaction, for here at least was a hint for 
feeding. I tried him with some other questions, 
but his chattering, prompt responses were as 
often as not quite at cross purposes with my 
question. Some few were appropriate, others 
quite parrot-like. 

I was so intent upon these peculiarities that I 
scarcely noticed the path we followed. Pres- 
ently we came to trees, all charred and brown, 
and so to a bare place covered with a yellow- 
white incrustation, across which a drifting 
smoke, pungent in whiffs to nose and eyes, 
went drifting. On our right, over a shoulder 
of bare rock, I saw the level blue of the sea. 
The path coiled' down abruptly into a narrow 
ravine between two tumbled and knotty masses 
of blackish scorise. Into this we plunged. 

It was extremely dark, this passage, after the 
101 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

blinding sunlight reflected from the sulphurous 
ground. Its walls grew steep, and approached 
each other. Blotches of green and crimson 
drifted across my eyes. My conductor stopped 
suddenly. "Home!" said he, and I stood 
in a floor of a chasm that was at first absolutely 
dark to me. I heard some strange noises, and 
thrust the knuckles of my left hand into my 
eyes. I became aware of a disagreeable odor, 
like that of a monkey's cage ill-cleaned. Be- 
yond, the rock opened again upon a gradual 
slope of sunlit greenery, and on either hand 
the light smote down through narrow ways 
into the central gloom. 



102 



XII. 

THE SAYERS OF THE LAW. 

'"THEN something cold touched my hand. I 
started violently, and saw close to me a 
dim pinkish thing, looking more like a flayed 
child than anything else in the world. The 
creature had exactly the mild but repulsive 
features of a sloth, the same low forehead and 
slow gestures. 

As the first shock of the change of light 
passed, I saw about me more distinctly. The 
little sloth-like creature was standing and staring 
at me. My conductor had vanished. The 
place was a narrow passage between high walls 
of lava, a crack in the knotted rock, and on 
either side interwoven heaps of sea-mat, palm- 
fans, and reeds leaning against the rock formed 
rough and impenetrably dark dens. The wind- 
ing way up the ravine between these was 
scarcely three yards wide, and was disfigured by 
103 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

lumps of decaying fruit-pulp and other refu 
which accounted for the disagreeable stench 
the place. 

The little pink sloth-creature was still blink- 
ing at me when my Ape-man reappeared at the 
aperture of the nearest of these dens, and beck- 
oned me in. As he did so, a slouching monster 
wriggled out of one of the places, further up 
this strange street, and stood up in featureless 
silhouette against the bright green beyond, star- 
ing at me. I hesitated, having half a mind to 
bolt the way I had come ; and then, determined 
to go through with the adventure, I gripped my 
nailed stick about the middle and crawled into the 
little evil-smelling lean-to after my conductor. 

It was a semi-circular space, shaped like the 
half of a bee-hive ; and against the rocky wall 
that formed the inner side of it was a pile of 
variegated fruits, cocoa-nuts among others. 
Some rough vessels of lava and wood stood 
about the floor, and one on a rough stool. 
There was no fire. In the darkest corner of 
the hut sat a shapeless mass of darkness that 
grunted "Hey!" as I came in, and my Ape- 
man stood in the dim light of the doorway and 
104 



The Sayers of the Law. 

held out a split cocoa-nut to me as I crawled 
into the other corner and squatted down. I 
took it, and began gnawing it, as serenely as 
possible, in spite of a certain trepidation and the 
nearly intolerable closeness of the den. The 
little pink sloth-creature stood in the aperture of 
the hut, and something else with a drab face and 
bright eyes came staring over its shoulder. 

" Hey ! " came out of the lump of mystery 
opposite. "It is a man." 

"It is a man, " gabbled my conductor, 
"a man, a man, a five-man, like me." 

"Shut up!*' said the voice from the' dark, 
and grunted. I gnawed my cocoa-nut amid 
an impressive stillness. 

I peered hard into the blackness, but could 
distinguish nothing. 

"It is a man," the voice repeated. "He 
comes to live with us?" 

It was a thick voice, with something in it 
a kind of whistling overtone that struck me as 
peculiar ; but the English accent was strangely 
good. 

The Ape-man looked at me as though he 
expected something. I perceived the pause was 
105 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

interrogative. "He comes to live with you," 
I said. 

"It is a man. He must learn the Law." 

I began to distinguish now a deeper blackness 
in the black, a vague outline of a hunched-up 
figure. Then I noticed the opening of the place 
was darkened by two more black heads. My 
hand tightened on my stick. 

The thing in the dark repeated in a louder 
tone, "Say the words." I had missed its last 
remark. "Not to go on all-fours; that is the 
Law," it repeated in a kind of sing-song. 

I was puzzled. 

"Say the words," said the Ape-man, 
repeating, and the figures in the doorway 
echoed this, with a threat in the tone of their 
voices. 

I realised that I had to repeat this idiotic 
formula ; and then began the insanest ceremony. 
The voice in the dark began intoning a mad 
litany, line by line, and I and the rest to repeat 
it. As they did so, they swayed from side to 
side in the oddest way, and beat their hands 
upon their knees ; and I followed their example. 
I could have imagined I was already dead and 
1 06 



The Sayers of the Law. 

in another world. That dark hut, these gro- 
tesque dim figures, just flecked here and there 
by a glimmer of light, and all of them swaying 
in unison and chanting, 

" Not to go on all-fours j that is the Law. 
Are we not Men ? 

" Not to suck up Drink j that is the Law. 
Are we not Men ? 

" Not to eat Fish or Flesh $ that is the Law. 
Are we not Men ? 

"Not to claw the Bark of Trees j that is the 
Law. Are we not Men ? 

" Not to chase other Men j that is the Law. 
Are we not Men ? " 

And so from the prohibition of these acts of 
folly, on to the prohibition of what I thought 
then were the maddest, most impossible, and 
most indecent things one could well imagine. 
A kind of rhythmic fervour fell on all of us ; we 
gabbled and swayed faster and faster, repeating 
this amazing Law. Superficially the contagion 
of these brutes was upon me, but deep down 
within me the laughter and disgust struggled 
together. We ran through a long list of pro- 
107 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

hibitions, and then the chant swung round to a 
new formula. 

" His is the House of Pain. 
" His is the Hand that makes. 
*< His is the Hand that wounds. 
" His is the Hand that heals." 

And so on for another long series, mostly 
quite incomprehensible gibberish to me about 
Him, whoever he might be. I could hai 
fancied it was a dream, but never before have 
heard chanting in a dream. 

" His is the lightning flash," we sang. " His 
is the deep, salt sea." 

A horrible fancy came into my head that 
Moreau, after animalising these men, had in- 
fected their dwarfed brains with a kind of deifi- 
cation of himself. However, I was too keenly 
aware of white teeth and strong claws about me 
to stop my chanting on that account. 

" His are the stars in the sky." 

At last that song ended. I saw the Ape- 
man* s face shining with perspiration 5 and my 
eyes being now accustomed to the darkness, I 
108 



The Sayers of the Law. 

saw more distinctly the figure in the corner 
from which the voice came. It was the size of 
a man, but it seemed covered with a dull grey 
hair almost like a Skye-terrier. What was it ? 
What were they all ? Imagine yourself sur- 
rounded by all the most horrible cripples and 
maniacs it is possible to conceive, and you may 
understand a little of my feelings with these 
grotesque caricatures of humanity about me. 

"He is a five-man, a five-man, a five-man 
like me/' said the Ape-man. 

I held out my hands. The grey creature in 
the corner leant forward. 

" Not to run on all-fours ; that is the Law. 
Are we not Men ?" he said. 

He put out a strangely distorted talon and 
gripped my fingers. The thing was almost like 
the hoof of a deer produced into claws. I 
could have yelled with surprise and pain. His 
face came forward and peered at my nails, came 
forward into the light of the opening of the hut ; 
and I saw with a quivering disgust that it was 
like the face of neither man nor beast, but a 
mere shock of grey hair, with three shadowy 
over-archings to mark the eyes and mouth. 
109 




The Island of Doctor Morcau. 



" He has little nails," said this grisly creatu 
in his hairy beard. " It is well." 

He threw my hand down, and instinctively 
I gripped my stick. 

"Eat roots and herbs; it is His will," said 
the Ape-man. 

"I am the Sayer of the Law," said the gr 
figure. "Here come all that be new to learn 
the Law. I sit in the darkness and say the 
Law." 

"It is even so,'* said one of the beasts in the 
doorway. 

" Evil are the punishments of those who 
break the Law. None escape." 

" None escape," said the Beast Folk, glan- 
cing furtively at one another. 

" None, none," said the Ape-man, 
" none escape. See ! I did a little thing, a 
wrong thing, once. I jabbered, jabbered, 
stopped talking. None could understand. I 
am burnt, branded in the hand. He is great. 
He is good!" 

" None escape," said the grey creature in 
the corner. 



no 




The Sayers of the Law. 

"None escape," said the Beast People, 
looking askance at one another. 

" For every one the want that is bad,'* said 
the grey Sayer of the Law. "What you will 
want we do not know ; we shall know. Some 
want to follow things that move, to watch and 
slink and wait and spring ; to kill and bite, bite 
deep and rich, sucking the blood. It is bad. 
' Not to chase other Men ; that is the Law. 
Are we not Men ? Not to eat Flesh or Fish ; 
that is the Law. Are we not Men ?' " 

" None escape," said a dappled brute stand- 
ing in the doorway. 

"For every one the want is bad," said the 
grey Sayer of the Law. "Some want to go 
tearing with teeth and hands into the roots of 
things, snuffing into the earth. It is bad." 

" None escape," said the men in the door. 

"Some go clawing trees; some go scratch- 
ing at the graves of the dead ; some go fighting 
with foreheads or feet or claws; some bite 
suddenly, none giving occasion ; some love 
uncleanness." 

" None escape," said the Ape-man, scratch- 
ing his calf. 

in 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

" None escape," said the little pink sic 
creature. 

" Punishment is sharp and sure. Therefore 
learn the Law. Say the words." 

And incontinently he began again the strange 
litany of the Law, and again I and all these 
creatures began singing and swaying. My head 
reeled with this jabbering and the close stench 
of the place ; but I kept on, trusting to find 
presently some chance of a new development. 

" Not to go on all-fours ; that is the Law. 
Are we not Men ? " 

We were making such a noise that I noticed 
nothing of a tumult outside, until some one, 
who I think was one of the two Swine Men I 
had seen, thrust his head over the little pink 
sloth-creature and shouted something excitedly, 
something that I did not catch. Incontinently 
those at the opening of the hut vanished ; my 
Ape-man rushed out ; the thing that had sat in 
the dark followed him (I only observed that it 
was big and clumsy, and covered with silvery 
hair), and I was left alone. Then before I 
reached the aperture I heard the yelp of a 
staghound. 

112 



The Sayers of the Law. 

In another moment I was standing outside the 
hovel, my chair-rail in my hand, every muscle 
of me quivering. Before me were the clumsy 
backs of perhaps a score of these Beast People, 
their misshapen heads half hidden by their 
shoulder-blades. They were gesticulating ex- 
citedly. Other half-animal faces glared inter- 
rogation out of the hovels. Looking in the 
direction in which they faced, I saw coming 
through the haze under the trees beyond the 
end of the passage of dens the dark figure and 
awful white face of Moreau. He was holding 
the leaping staghound back, and close behind 
him came Montgomery revolver in hand. 

For a moment I stood horror-struck. I 
turned and saw the passage behind me 
blocked by another heavy brute, with a huge 
grey face and twinkling little eyes, advancing 
towards me. I looked round and saw to the 
right of me and a half-dozen yards in front of 
me a narrow gap in the wall of rock through 
which a ray of light slanted into the shadows. 

" Stop ! " cried Moreau as I strode towards 
this, and then, " Hold him ! " 

At that, first one face turned towards me and 
8 113 




The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

then others. Their bestial minds were haj 
slow. I dashed my shoulder into a clumsy 
monster who was turning to see what Moreau 
meant, and flung him forward into another. I 
felt his hands fly round, clutching at me and 
missing me. The little pink sloth-creature 
dashed at me, and I gashed down its ugly face 
with the nail in my stick, and in another min- 
ute was scrambling up a steep side pathway, a 
kind of sloping chimney, out of the ravine. I 
heard a howl behind me, and cries of " Catch 
him!" "Hold him!" and the grey-faced 
creature appeared behind me and jammed his 
huge bulk into the cleft. "Go on! go on!" 
they howled. I clambered up the narrow cleft 
in the rock and came out upon the sulphur on 
the westward side of the village of the Beast 
Men. 

That gap was altogether fortunate for me, for 
the narrow chimney, slanting obliquely upward, 
must have impeded the nearer pursuers. I ran 
over the white space and down a steep slope, 
through a scattered growth of trees, and came to 
a low-lying stretch of tall reeds, through which 
I pushed into a dark, thick undergrowth that 
114 



The Sayers of the Law. 

was black and succulent under foot. As I 
plunged into the reeds, my foremost pursuers 
emerged from the gap. I broke my way 
through this undergrowth for some minutes. 
The air behind me and about me was soon full 
of threatening cries. I heard the tumult of my 
pursuers in the gap up the slope, then the crash- 
ing of the reeds, and every now and then the 
crackling crash of a branch. Some of the crea- 
tures roared like excited beasts of prey. The 
staghound yelped to the left. I heard Moreau 
and Montgomery shouting in the same direction. 
I turned sharply to the right. It seemed to me 
even then that I heard Montgomery shouting 
for me to run for my life. 

Presently the ground gave rich and oozy 
under my feet ; but I was desperate and went 
headlong into it, struggled through knee-deep, 
and so came to a winding path among tall canes. 
The noise of my pursuers passed away to my 
left. In one place three strange, pink, hopping 
animals, about the size of cats, bolted before my 
footsteps. This pathway ran up hill, across 
another open space covered with white incrusta- 
tion, and plunged into a canebrake again. Then 
"5 



iau. 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

suddenly it turned parallel with the edge of a 
steep-walled gap, which came without warning, 
like the ha-ha of an English park, turned with 
an unexpected abruptness. I was still running 
with all my might, and I never saw this drop 
until I was flying headlong through the air. 

I fell on my forearms and head, among 
thorns, and rose with a torn ear and bleeding 
face. I had fallen into a precipitous ravine, 
rocky and thorny, full of a hazy mist which 
drifted about me in wisps, and with a narrow 
streamlet from which this mist came meandering 
down the centre. I was astonished at this thin 
fog in the full blaze of daylight ; but I had no 
time to stand wondering then. I turned to my 
right, down-stream, hoping to come to the sea 
in that direction, and so have my way open to 
drown myself. It was only later I found that 
I had dropped my nailed stick in my fall. 

Presently the ravine grew narrower for a 
space, and carelessly I stepped into the stream. 
I jumped out again pretty quickly, for the water 
was almost boiling. I noticed too there was a 
thin sulphurous scum drifting upon its coiling 
water. Almost immediately came a turn in the 
116 



The Sayers of the Law. 

ravine, and the indistinct blue horizon. The 
nearer sea was flashing the sun from a myriad 
facets. I saw my death before me ; but I was 
hot and panting, with the warm blood oozing 
out on my face and running pleasantly through 
my veins. I felt more than a touch of exulta- 
tion too, at having distanced my pursuers. It 
was not in me then to go out and drown 
myself yet. I stared back the way I had 
come. 

I listened. Save for the hum of the gnats 
and the chirp of some small insects that hopped 
among the thorns, the air was absolutely still. 
Then came the yelp of a dog, very faint, and a 
chattering and gibbering, the snap of a whip, 
and voices. They grew louder, then fainter 
again. The noise receded up the stream and 
faded away. For a while the chase was over ; 
but I knew now how much hope of help for 
me lay in the Beast People. 



117 



XIII. 

A PARLEY. 

T TURNED again and went on down to- 
* wards the sea. I found the hot stream 
broadened out to a shallow, weedy sand, in 
which an abundance of crabs and long-bodied, 
many-legged creatures started from my footfall. 
I walked to the very edge of the salt water, and 
then I felt I was safe. I turned and stared, 
arms akimbo, at the thick green behind me, into 
which the steamy ravine cut like a smoking gash. 
But, as I say, I was too full of excitement and 
(a true saying, though those who have never 
known danger may doubt it) too desperate to 
die. 

Then it came into my head that there was 
one chance before me yet. While Moreau and 
Montgomery and their bestial rabble chased me 
through the island, might I not go round the 
beach until I came to their enclosure, make a 
flank march upon them, in fact, and then with 
118 



A Parley. 

a rock lugged out of their loosely-built wall, 
perhaps, smash in the lock of the smaller door 
and see what I could find (knife, pistol, or 
what not) to fight them with when they re- 
turned ? It was at any rate something to try. 

So I turned to the westward and walked 
along by the water's edge. The setting sun 
flashed his blinding heat into my eyes. The 
slight Pacific tide was running in with a gende 
ripple. Presently the shore fell away south- 
ward, and the sun came round upon my right 
hand. Then suddenly, far in front of me, I 
saw first one and then several figures emerging 
from the bushes, Moreau, with his grey stag- 
hound, then Montgomery, and two others. At 
that I stopped. 

They saw me, and began gesticulating and 
advancing. I stood watching them approach. 
The two Beast Men came running forward to 
cut me off from the undergrowth, inland. 
Montgomery came, running also, but straight to- 
wards me. Moreau followed slower with the 
dog. 

At last I roused myself from my inaction, 
and turning seaward walked straight into the 
119 



*au. 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

water. The water was very shallow at first. 
I was thirty yards out before the waves reached 
to my waist. Dimly I could see the intertidal 
creatures darting away from my feet. 

" What are you doing, man ? " cried Mont- 
gomery. 

I turned, standing waist deep, and stared at 
them. Montgomery stood panting at the margin 
of the water. His face was bright-red with 
exertion, his long flaxen hair blown about his 
head, and his dropping nether lip showed his 
irregular teeth. Moreau was just coming up, 
his face pale and firm, and the dog at his hand 
barked at me. Both men had heavy whips. 
Farther up the beach stared the Beast Men. 

"What am I doing? I am going to drown 
myself," said I. 

Montgomery and Moreau looked at each 
other. "Why?" asked Moreau. 

" Because that is better than being tortured 
by you." 

" I told you so," said Montgomery, and 
Moreau said something in a low tone. 

" What makes you think I shall torture you ? " 
asked Moreau. 

I2O 



A Parley. 

"What I saw," I said. "And those 
yonder." 

" Hush ! " said Moreau, and held up his hand. 

"I will not," said I. "They were men: 
what are they now ? I at least will not be 
like them." 

I looked past my interlocutors. Up the 
beach were M'ling, Montgomery's attendant, 
and one of the white-swathed brutes from the 
boat. Farther up, in the shadow of the trees, 
I saw my little Ape-man, and behind him some 
other dim figures. 

" Who are these creatures ? ' ' said I, point- 
ing to them and raising my voice more and 
more that it might reach them. " They were 
men, men like yourselves, whom you have 
infected with some bestial taint, men whom 
you have enslaved, and whom you still fear. 
You who listen," I cried, pointing now to 
Moreau and shouting past him to the Beast Men, 
f ' You who listen ! Do you not see these 
men still fear you, go in dread of you ? Why, 
then, do you fear them ? You are many " 

"For God's sake," cried Montgomery, 
" stop that, Prendick ! " 

121 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

" Prendick ! " cried Moreau. 

They both shouted together, as if to drown 
my voice ; and behind them lowered the staring 
faces of the Beast Men, wondering, their de- 
formed hands hanging down, their shoulders 
hunched up. They seemed, as I fancied, to 
be trying to understand me, to remember, I 
thought, something of their human past. 

I went on shouting, I scarcely remember 
what, that Moreau and Montgomery could be 
killed, that they were not to be feared : that 
was the burden of what I put into the heads of 
the Beast People. I saw the green-eyed man 
in the dark rags, who had met me on the even- 
ing of my arrival, come out from among the 
trees, and others followed him, to hear me 
better. At last for want of breath I paused. 

"Listen to me for a moment," said the 
steady voice of Moreau ; " and then say what 
you will." 

"Well?" said I. 

He coughed, thought, then shouted : " Latin, 
Prendick ! bad Latin, schoolboy Latin ; but try 
and understand. Hi non sunt homines; sunt 
animalia qui nos babemus vivisected. A 

122 



A Parley. 

humanising process. I will explain. Come 
ashore.'* 

I laughed. " A pretty story," said I. 
"They talk, build houses. They were men. 
It's likely I'll come ashore." 

"The water just beyond where you stand is 
deep and full of sharks. ' ' 

"That's my way," said I. "Short and 
sharp. Presently." 

" Wait a minute." He took something out 
of his pocket that flashed back the sun, and 
dropped the object at his feet. " That 's a 
loaded revolver," said he. " Montgomery here 
will do the same. Now we are going up the 
beach until you are satisfied the distance is safe. 
Then come and take the revolvers." 

"Not I ! You have a third between 
you." 

" I want you to think over things, Prendick. 
In the first place, I never asked you to come 
upon this island. If we vivisected men, we 
should import men, not beasts. In the next, 
we had you drugged last night, had we wanted 
to work you any mischief; and in the next, 
now your first panic is over and you can think 
123 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

a little, is Montgomery here quite up to the 
character you give him ? We have chased you 
for your good. Because this island is full of 
inimical phenomena. Besides, why should 
we want to shoot you when you have just 
offered to drown yourself?" 

" Why did you set your people onto me 
when I was in the hut?" 

" We felt sure of catching you, and bringing 
you out of danger. Afterwards we drew away 
from the scent, for your good." 

I mused. It seemed just possible. Then I 
remembered something again. "But I saw," 
said I, " in the enclosure " 

" That was the puma." 

"Look here, Prendick," said Montgomery, 
"you 're a silly ass! Come out of the water 
and take these revolvers, and talk. We can't do 
anything more than we could do now." 

I will confess that then, and indeed always, 
I distrusted and dreaded Moreau ; but Mont- 
gomery was a man I felt I understood. 

" Go up the beach," said I, after thinking, 
and added, " holding your hands up." 

" Can't do that," said Montgomery, with 
124 



A Parley. 

an explanatory nod over his shoulder. " Un- 
dignified." 

"Go up to the trees, then," said I, "as 
you please." 

"It's a damned silly ceremony," said 
Montgomery. 

Both turned and faced the six or seven gro- 
tesque creatures, who stood there in the sunlight, 
solid, casting shadows, moving, and yet so in- 
credibly unreal. Montgomery cracked his whip 
at them, and forthwith they all turned and fled 
helter-skelter into the trees; and when Mont- 
gomery and Moreau were at a distance I judged 
sufficient, I waded ashore, and picked up and 
examined the revolvers. To satisfy myself 
against the subtlest trickery, I discharged one at 
a round lump of lava, and had the satisfaction of 
seeing the stone pulverised and the beach splashed 
with lead. Still I hesitated for a moment. 

"I '11 take the risk," said I, at last; and with 
a revolver in each hand I walked up the beach 
towards them. 

"That's better," said Moreau, without 
affectation. " As it is, you have wasted the 
best part of my day with your confounded 
125 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

imagination." And with a touch of contempt 
which humiliated me, he and Montgomery 
turned and went on in silence before me. 

The knot of Beast Men, still wondering, 
stood back among the trees. I passed them as 
serenely as possible. One started to follow me, 
but retreated again when Montgomery cracked 
his whip. The rest stood silent watching. 
They may once have been animals ; but I never 
before saw an animal trying to think. 



126 



XIV. 

DOCTOR MOREAU EXPLAINS. 

" A ND now, Prendick, I will explain,' * said 
** Doctor Moreau, so soon as we had 
eaten and drunk. "I must confess that you 
are the most dictatorial guest I ever entertained. 
I warn you that this is the last I shall do to 
oblige you. The next thing you threaten to 
commit suicide about, I sha'n't do, even at 
some personal inconvenience." 

He sat in my deck chair, a cigar half con- 
sumed in his white, dexterous-looking fingers. 
The light of the swinging lamp fell on his white 
hair ; he stared through the little window out at 
the starlight. I sat as far away from him as pos- 
sible, the table between us and the revolvers to 
hand. Montgomery was not present. I did 
not care to be with the two of them in such a 
little room. 

"You admit that the vivisected human being, 
as you called it, is, after all, only the puma?" 
127 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

said Moreau. He had made me visit that 
horror in the inner room, to assure myself 
of its inhumanity. 

" It is the puma," I said, " still alive, but 
so cut and mutilated as I pray I may never see 
living flesh again. Of all vile " 

"Never mind that," said Moreau; "at 
least, spare me those youthful horrors. Mont- 
gomery used to be just the same. You admit 
that it is the puma. Now be quiet, while I 
reel off my physiological lecture to you." 

And forthwith, beginning in the tone of a 
man supremely bored, but presently warming 
a little, he explained his work to me. He was 
very simple and convincing. Now and then 
there was a touch of sarcasm in his voice. 
Presently I found myself hot with shame at our 
mutual positions. 

The creatures I had seen were not men, had 
never been men. They were animals, human- 
ised animals, triumphs of vivisection. 

" You forget all that a skilled vivisector can 

do with living things," said Moreau. "For 

my own part, I 'm puzzled why the things 

I have done here have not been done before. 

128 



Doctor Moreau explains. 

Small efforts, of course, have been made, 
amputation, tongue-cutting, excisions. Of course 
you know a squint may be induced or cured by 
surgery ? Then in the case of excisions you 
have all kinds of secondary changes, pigmentary 
disturbances, modifications of the passions, altera- 
tions in the secretion of fatty tissue. I have no 
doubt you have heard of these things ? " 

"Of course," said I. "But these foul 
creatures of yours J ' 

"All in good time," said he, waving his 
hand at me; "I am only beginning. Those 
are trivial cases of alteration. Surgery can do 
better things than that. There is building up 
as well as breaking down and changing. You 
have heard, perhaps, of a common surgical 
operation resorted to in cases where the nose 
has been destroyed : a flap of skin is cut from 
the forehead, turned down on the nose, and 
heals in the new position. This is a kind of 
grafting in a new position of part of an animal 
upon itself. Grafting of freshly obtained mate- 
rial from another animal is also possible, the 
case of teeth, for example. The grafting of skin 
and bone is done to facilitate healing : the sur- 
9 129 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

geon places in the middle of the wound pieces 
of skin snipped from another animal, or fragments 
of bone from a victim freshly killed. Hunter's 
cock-spur possibly you have heard of that 
flourished on the bull's neck ; and the rhinoceros 
rats of the Algerian zouaves are also to be thought 
of, monsters manufactured by transferring a 
slip from the tail of an ordinary rat to its snout, 
and allowing it to heal in that position." 

" Monsters manufactured ! " said I. Then 
you mean to tell me " 

" Yes. These creatures you have seen are 
animals carven and wrought into new shapes. 
To that, to the study of the plasticity of living 
forms, my life has been devoted. I have studied 
for years, gaining in knowledge as I go. I see 
you look horrified, and yet I am telling you noth- 
ing new. It all lay in the surface of practical 
anatomy years ago, but no one had the temerity 
to touch it. It's not simply the outward form 
of an animal which I can change. The physi- 
ology, the chemical rhythm of the creature, may 
also be made to undergo an enduring modifica- 
tion, of which vaccination and other methods 
of inoculation with living or dead matter are 
130 



Doctor Moreau explains. 

examples that will, no doubt, be familiar to 
you. A similar operation is the transfusion of 
blood, with which subject, indeed, I began. 
These are all familiar cases. Less so, and 
probably far more extensive, were the operations 
of those mediaeval practitioners who made dwarfs 
and beggar-cripples, show-monsters, some ves- 
tiges of whose art still remain in the preliminary 
manipulation of the young mountebank or con- 
tortionist. Victor Hugo gives an account of 
them in 'L'Homme qui Rit.' But perhaps 
my meaning grows plain now. You begin to 
see that it is a possible thing to transplant tissue 
from one part of an animal to another, or from 
one animal to another ; to alter its chemical re- 
actions and methods of growth ; to modify the 
articulations of its limbs ; and, indeed, to change 
it in its most intimate structure. 

" And yet this extraordinary branch of knowl- 
edge has never been sought as an end, and sys- 
tematically, by modern investigators until I took 
it up ! Some of such things have been hit upon 
in the last resort of surgery ; most of the kindred 
evidence that will recur to your mind has been 
demonstrated as it were by accident, by 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

tyrants, by criminals, by the breeders of horses 
and dogs, by all kinds of untrained clumsy-handed 
men working for their own immediate ends. I 
was the first man to take up this question armed 
with antiseptic surgery, and with a really scien- 
tific knowledge of the laws of growth. Yet 
one would imagine it must have been practised 
in secret before. Such creatures as the Siamese 
Twins And in the vaults of the Inquisition. 
No doubt their chief aim was artistic torture, 
but some at least of the inquisitors must have 
had a touch of scientific curiosity." 

" But," said I, " these things these animals 

tmt** 

He said that was so, and proceeded to point 
out that the possibility of vivisection does not 
stop at a mere physical metamorphosis. A pig 
may be educated. The mental structure is even 
less determinate than the bodily. In our grow- 
ing science of hypnotism we find the promise of 
a possibility of superseding old inherent instincts 
by new suggestions, grafting upon or replacing 
the inherited fixed ideas. Very much indeed 
of what we call moral education, he said, is 
such an artificial modification and perversion of 
132 



.Doctor Moreau explains. 

instinct; pugnacity is trained into courageous 
self-sacrifice, and suppressed sexuality into reli- 
gious emotion. And the great difference be- 
tween man and monkey is in the larynx, he 
continued, in the incapacity to frame deli- 
cately different sound-symbols by which thought 
could be sustained. In this I failed to agree 
with him, but with a certain incivility he de- 
clined to notice my objection. He repeated 
that the thing was so, and continued his account 
of his work. 

I asked him why he had taken the human 
form as a model. There seemed to me then, 
and there still seems to me now, a strange 
wickedness for that choice. 

He confessed that he had chosen that form 
by chance. " I might just as well have worked 
to form sheep into llamas and llamas into sheep. 
I suppose there is something in the human form 
that appeals to the artistic turn more powerfully 
than any animal shape can. But I Ve not 
confined myself to man-making. Once or 
twice " He was silent, for a minute perhaps. 
"These years! How they have slipped by] 
And here I have wasted a day saving your life, 

133 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

and am now wasting an hour explaining my- 
self!" 

"But," said I, "I still do not understand. 
Where is your justification for inflicting all this 
pain ? The only thing that could excuse vivi- 
section to me would be some application " 

"Precisely," said he. "But, you see, I am 
differently constituted. We are on different 
platforms. You are a materialist." 

"I am not a materialist," I began hotly. 

" In my view in my view. For it is just 
this question of pain that parts us. So long as 
visible or audible pain turns you sick ; so long 
as your own pains drive you ; so long as pain 
underlies your propositions about sin, so long, 
I tell you, you are an animal, thinking a little 
less obscurely what an animal feels. This 
pain " 

I gave an impatient shrug at such sophistry. 

" Oh, but it is such a little thing ! A mind 
truly opened to what science has to teach must 
see that it is a little thing. It may be that save 
in this little planet, this speck of cosmic dust, 
invisible long before the nearest star could be 
attained, it may be, I say, that nowhere else 



Doctor Moreau explains. 

does this thing called pain occur. But the laws 
we feel our way towards Why, even on 
this earth, even among living things, what pain 
is there ?" 

As he spoke he drew a little penknife from 
his pocket, opened the smaller blade, and moved 
his chair so that I could see his thigh. Then, 
choosing the place deliberately, he drove the 
blade into his leg and withdrew it. 

" No doubt," he said, "you have seen that 
before. It does not hurt a pin-prick. But what 
does it show ? The capacity for pain is not 
needed in the muscle, and it is not placed there, 
is but little needed in the skin, and only here 
and there over the thigh is a spot capable of 
feeling pain. Pain is simply our intrinsic med- 
ical adviser to warn us and stimulate us. Not 
all living flesh is painful ; nor is all nerve, not 
even all sensory nerve. There J s no tint of pain, 
real pain, in the sensations of the optic nerve. 
If you wound the optic nerve, you merely 
see flashes of light, just as disease of the 
auditory nerve merely means a humming in 
our ears. Plants do not feel pain, nor the 
lower animals; it's possible that such animals 
'35 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

as the starfish and crayfish do not feel pain at all. 
Then with men, the more intelligent they 
become, the more intelligently they will see 
after their own welfare, and the less they will 
need the goad to keep them out of danger. 
I never yet heard of a useless thing that 
was not ground out of existence by evolution 
sooner or later. Did you? And pain gets 
needless. 

" Then I am a religious man, Prendick, as 
every sane man must be. It may be, I fancy, 
that I have seen more of the ways of this world's 
Maker than you, for I have sought his laws, 
in my way, all my life, while you, I understand, 
have been collecting butterflies. And I tell you, 
pleasure and pain have nothing to do with 
heaven or hell. Pleasure and pain bah ! 
What is your theologian's ecstasy but Mahomet's 
houri in the dark ? This store which men and 
women set on pleasure and pain, Prendick, is 
the mark of the beast upon them, the mark of 
the beast from which they came ! Pain, pain 
and pleasure, they are for us only so long as we 
wriggle in the dust. 

" You see, I went on with this research just 

136 



Doctor Moreau explains. 

the way it led me. That is the only way I 
ever heard of true research going. I asked a 
question, devised some method of obtaining an 
answer, and got a fresh question. Was this 
possible or that possible ? You cannot imagine 
what this means to an investigator, what an 
intellectual passion grows upon him ! You 
cannot imagine the strange, colourless delight 
of these intellectual desires! The thing before 
you is no longer an animal, a fellow- creature, 
but a problem ! Sympathetic pain, all I 
know of it I remember as a thing .1 used to 
suffer from years ago. I wanted f it was the 
one thing I wanted to find out the extreme 
limit of plasticity in a living shape." 

"But," said I, " the thing is an abomina- 
tion" 

"To this day I have never troubled about 
the ethics of the matter," he continued. " The 
study of Nature makes a man at last as remorse- 
less as Nature. I have gone on, not heeding 
anything but the question I was pursuing ; and 
the material has dripped into the huts yonder. 
It is really eleven years since we came here, I 
and Montgomery and six Kanakas. I remember 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

the green stillness of the island and the empty 
ocean about us, as though it was yesterday. 
The place seemed waiting for me. 

"The stores were landed and the house was 
built. The Kanakas founded some huts near 
the ravine. I went to work here upon what I 
had brought with me. There were some dis- 
agreeable things happened at first. I began with 
a sheep, and killed it after a day and a half by a 
slip of the scalpel. I took another sheep, and 
made a thing of pain and fear and left it bound 
up to heal. It looked quite human to me when 
I had finished it ; but when I went to it I was 
discontented with it. It remembered me, and 
was terrified beyond imagination ; and it had 
no more than the wits of a sheep. The more 
I looked at it the clumsier it seemed, until at 
last I put the monster out of its misery. These 
animals without courage, these fear-haunted, 
pain-driven things, without a spark of pugna- 
cious energy to face torment, they are no 
good for man-making. 

" Then I took a gorilla I had ; and upon that, 
working with infinite care and mastering diffi- 
culty after difficulty, I made my first man. All 

138 



Doctor Moreau explains. 

the week, night and day, I moulded him. 
With him it was chiefly the brain that needed 
moulding ; much had to be added, much 
changed. I thought him a fair specimen of the 
negroid type when I had finished him, and he 
lay bandaged, bound, and motionless before me. 
It was only when his life was assured that I left 
him and came into this room again, and found 
Montgomery much as you are. He had heard 
some of the cries as the thing grew human, 
cries like those that disturbed you so. I did n't 
take him completely into my confidence at first. 
And the Kanakas too, had realised something of 
it. They were scared out of their wits by the 
sight of me. I got Montgomery over to me 
in a way ; but I and he had the hardest job to 
prevent the Kanakas deserting. Finally they 
did ; and so we lost the yacht. I spent many 
days educating the brute, altogether I had 
him for three or four months. I taught him the 
rudiments of English ; gave him ideas of count- 
ing ; even made the thing read the alphabet. 
But at that he was slow, though I 've met with 
idiots slower. He began with a clean sheet, 
mentally ; had no memories left in his mind of 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

what he had been. When his scars were quite 
healed, and he was no longer anything but pain- 
ful and stiff, and able to converse a little, I took 
him yonder and introduced him to the Kanakas 
as an interesting stowaway. 

" They were horribly afraid of him at first, 
somehow, which offended me rather, for I 
was conceited about him ; but his ways seemed 
so mild, and he was so abject, that after a time 
they received him and took his education in 
hand. He was quick to learn, very imitative 
and adaptive, and built himself a hovel rather 
better, it seemed to me, than their own shanties. 
There was one among the boys a bit of 
a missionary, and he taught the thing to read, 
or at least to pick out letters, and gave him 
some rudimentary ideas of morality ; but it 
seems the beast's habits were not all that is 
desirable. 

"I rested from work for some days after this, 
and was in a mind to write an account of the 
whole affair to wake up English physiology. 
Then I came upon the creature squatting up in 
a tree and gibbering at two of the Kanakas who 
had been teasing him. I threatened him, told 
140 



Doctor Moreau explains. 

him the inhumanity of such a proceeding, 
aroused his sense of shame, and came home 
resolved to do better before I took my work 
back to England. I have been doing better. 
But somehow the things drift back again : the 
stubborn beast-flesh grows day by day back again. 
But I mean to do better things still. I mean to 
conquer that. This puma 

" But that J s the story. All the Kanaka boys 
are dead now ; one fell overboard of the launch, 
and one died of a wounded heel that he poisoned 
in some way with plant-juice. Three went 
away in the yacht, and I suppose and hope 
were drowned. The other one was killed. 
Well, I have replaced them. Montgomery 
went on much as you are disposed to do at first, 
and then " 

"What became of the other one?" said 
I, sharply, " the other Kanaka who was 
killed?" 

" The fact is, after I had made a number 
of human creatures I made a Thing." He 
hesitated. 

"Yes," said I. 

"It was killed." 

141 




The Island of Doctor Moreau. 



"I don't understand," said I; "do you 
mean to say ' ' 

" It killed the Kanakas yes. It killed sev- 
eral other things that it caught. We chased it 
for a couple of days. It only got loose by 
accident I never meant it to get away. It 
was n't finished. It was purely an experiment. 
It was a limbless thing, with a horrible face, 
that writhed along the ground in a serpentine 
fashion. It was immensely strong, and in 
infuriating pain. It lurked in the woods for 
some days, until we hunted it ; and then it 
wriggled into the northern part of the island, and 
we divided the party to close in upon it. 
Montgomery insisted upon coming with me. 
The man had a rifle; and when his body was 
found, one of the barrels was curved into the 
shape of an S and very nearly bitten through. 
Montgomery shot the thing. After that I stuck 
to the ideal of humanity except for little 
things." 

He became silent. I sat in silence watching 
his face. 

" So for twenty years altogether counting 
nine years in England I have been going on ; 
142 



Doctor Moreau explains. 

and there is still something in everything I do 
that defeats me, makes me dissatisfied, challenges 
me to further effort. Sometimes I rise above 
my level, sometimes I fall below it ; but always 
I fall short of the things I dream. The human 
shape I can get now, almost with ease, so that it 
is lithe and graceful, or thick and strong ; but 
often there is trouble with the hands and the 
claws, painful things, that I dare not shape 
too freely. But it is in the subtle grafting and 
reshaping one must needs do to the brain that 
my trouble lies. The intelligence is often 
oddly low, with unaccountable blank ends, un- 
expected gaps. And least satisfactory of all is 
something that I cannot touch, somewhere I 
cannot determine where in the seat of the 
emotions. Cravings, instincts, desires that harm 
humanity, a strange hidden reservoir to burst 
forth suddenly and inundate the whole being of 
the creature with anger, hate, or fear. These 
creatures of mine seemed strange and uncanny to 
you so soon as you began to observe them ; but 
to me, just after I make them, they seem to be 
indisputably human beings. It J s afterwards, as 
I observe them, that the persuasion fades. First 
143 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

one animal trait, then another, creeps to the 
surface and stares out at me. But I will conquer 
yet ! Each time I dip a living creature into the 
bath of burning pain, I say, ' This time I will 
burn out all the animal ; this time I will make 
a rational creature of my own ! * After all, 
what is ten years ? Men have been a hundred 
thousand in the making." He thought darkly. 
" But I am drawing near the fastness. This 
puma of mine " After a silence, "And 
they revert. As soon as my hand is taken from 
them the beast begins to creep back, begins to 
assert itself again." Another long silence. 

" Then you take the things you make into 
those dens?" said I. 

" They go. I turn them out when I begin 
to feel the beast in them, and presently they 
wander there. They all dread this house and 
me. There is a kind of travesty of humanity 
over there. Montgomery knows about it, for 
he interferes in their affairs. He has trained one 
or two of them to our service. He *s ashamed 
of it, but I believe he half likes some of those 
beasts. It's his business, not mine. They 
only sicken me with a sense of failure. I 
144 



Doctor Moreau explains. 

take no interest in them. I fancy they 
follow in the lines the Kanaka missionary 
marked out, and have a kind of mockery 
of a rational life, poor beasts ! There ' s some- 
thing they call the Law. Sing hymns about 
'all thine.' They build themselves their 
dens, gather fruit, and pull herbs marry even. 
But I can see through it all, see into their very 
souls, and see there nothing but the souls of 
beasts, beasts that perish, anger and the lusts to 
live and gratify themselves. Yet they 're odd ; 
complex, like everything else alive. There is a 
kind of upward striving in them, part vanity, 
part waste sexual emotion, part waste curiosity. 
It only mocks me. I have some hope of that 
puma. I have worked hard at her head and 
brain 

"And now," said he, standing up after a 
long gap of silence, during which we had each 
pursued our own thoughts, " what do you 
think? Are you in fear of me still?" 

I looked at him, and saw but a white-faced, 

white-haired man, with calm eyes. Save for 

his serenity, the touch almost of beauty that 

resulted from his set tranquillity and his magnifi- 

10 145 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

cent build, he might have passed muster among 
a hundred other comfortable old gentlemen. 
Then I shivered. By way of answer to his 
second question, I handed him a revolver with 
either hand. 

"Keep them," he said, and snatched at a 
yawn. He stood up, stared at me for a moment, 
and smiled. " You have had two eventful 
days," said he. "I should advise some sleep. 
I'm glad it's all clear. Good-night." He 
thought me over for a moment, then went out 
by the inner door. 

I immediately turned the key in the outer 
one. I sat down again ; sat for a time in a 
kind of stagnant mood, so weary, emotionally, 
mentally, and physically, that I could not think 
beyond the point at which he had left me. 
The black window stared at me like an eye. 
At last with an effort I put out the light and 
got into the hammock. Very soon I was 
asleep. 



146 



XV. 

CONCERNING THE BEAST FOLK. 

T WOKE early. Moreau's explanation stood 
before my mind, clear and definite, from 
the moment of my awakening. I got out of 
the hammock and went to the door to assure 
myself that the key was turned. Then I tried 
the window-bar, and found it firmly fixed. 
That these man-like creatures were in truth 
only bestial monsters, mere grotesque travesties 
of men, filled me with a vague uncertainty of 
their possibilities which was far worse than any 
definite fear. 

A tapping came at the door, and I heard the 
glutinous accents of M'ling speaking. I pock- 
eted one of the revolvers (keeping one hand 
upon it), and opened to him. 

"Good-morning, sair," he said, bringing in, 
in addition to the customary herb-breakfast, an 
ill-cooked rabbit. Montgomery followed him. 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

His roving eye caught the position of my arm 
and he smiled askew. 

The puma was resting to heal that day ; but 
Moreau, who was singularly solitary in his 
habits, did not join us. I talked with Mont- 
gomery to clear my ideas of the way in which 
the Beast Folk lived. In particular, I was 
urgent to know how these inhuman monsters 
were kept from falling upon Moreau and Mont- 
gomery and from rending one another. He 
explained to me that the comparative safety of 
Moreau and himself was due to the limited 
mental scope of these monsters. In spite of their 
increased intelligence and the tendency of their 
animal instincts to reawaken, they had certain 
fixed ideas implanted by Moreau in their minds, 
which absolutely bounded their imaginations. 
They were really hypnotised ; had been told 
that certain things were impossible, and that 
certain things were not to be done, and these 
prohibitions were woven into the texture of 
their minds beyond any possibility of disobedi- 
ence or dispute. 

Certain matters, however, in which old 
instinct was at war with Moreau' s convenience, 
148 



Concerning the Beast Folk. 

were in a less stable condition. A series of pro- 
positions called the Law (I had already heard 
them recited) battled in their minds with the 
deep-seated, ever-rebellious cravings of their 
animal natures. This Law they were ever 
repeating, I found, and ever breaking. Both 
Montgomery and Moreau displayed particular 
solicitude to keep them ignorant of the taste of 
blood; they feared the inevitable suggestions 
of that flavour. Montgomery told me that the 
Law, especially among the feline Beast People, 
became oddly weakened about nightfall ; that 
then the animal was at its strongest ; that a spirit 
of adventure sprang up in them at the dusk, 
when they would dare things they never seemed 
to dream about by day. To that I owed my 
stalking by the Leopard-man, on the night of 
my arrival. But during these earlier days of 
my stay they broke the Law only furtively and 
after dark ; in the daylight there was a general 
atmosphere of respect for its multifarious pro- 
hibitions. 

And here perhaps I may give a few general 
facts about the island and the Beast People. 
The island, which was of irregular outline and 
149 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

lay low upon the wide sea, had a total area, I 
suppose, of seven or eight square miles. 1 It was 
volcanic in origin, and was now fringed on three 
sides by coral reefs ; some fumaroles to the north- 
ward, and a hot spring, were the only vestiges of 
the forces that had long since originated it. Now 
and then a faint quiver of earthquake would be 
sensible, and sometimes the ascent of the spire of 
smoke would be rendered tumultuous by gusts of 
steam ; but that was all. The population of the 
island, Montgomery informed me, now numbered 
rather more than sixty of these strange creations 
of Moreau' s art, not counting the smaller mon- 
strosities which lived in the undergrowth and 
were without human form. Altogether he had 
made nearly a hundred and twenty ; but many 
had died, and others like the writhing Footless 
Thing of which he had told me had come by 
violent ends. In answer to my question, Mont- 
gomery said that they actually bore offspring, 
but that these generally died. When they lived, 
Moreau took them and stamped the human form 
upon them. There was no evidence of the 
1 This description corresponds in every respect 
to Noble's Isle. c. E. p. 



Concerning the Beast Folk. 

inheritance of their acquired human charac- 
teristics. The females were less numerous than 
the males, and liable to much furtive persecution 
in spite of the monogamy the Law enjoined. 

It would be impossible for me to describe 
these Beast People in detail ; my eye has had 
no training in details, and unhappily I cannot 
sketch. Most striking, perhaps, in their general 
appearance was the disproportion between the 
legs of these creatures and the length of their 
bodies ; and yet so relative is our idea of 
grace my eye became habituated to their 
forms, and at last I even fell in with their per- 
suasion that my own long thighs were ungainly. 
Another point was the forward carriage of the 
head, and the clumsy and inhuman curvature of 
the spine. Even the Ape-man lacked that in- 
ward sinuous curve of the back which makes 
the human figure so graceful. Most had their 
shoulders hunched clumsily, and their short 
forearms hung weakly at their sides. Few of 
them were conspicuously hairy, at least until 
the end of my time upon the island. 

The next most obvious deformity was in their 
faces, almost all of which were prognathous, 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

malformed about the ears, with large and pro- 
tuberant noses, very furry or very bristly hair, 
and often strangely-coloured or strangely-placed 
eyes. None could laugh, though the Ape-man 
had a chattering titter. Beyond these general 
characters their heads had little in common ; 
each preserved the quality of its particular 
species : the human mark distorted but did not 
hide the leopard, the ox, or the sow, or other 
animal or animals, from which the creature had 
been moulded. The voices, too, varied exceed- 
ingly. The hands were always malformed ; 
and though some surprised me by their unex- 
pected human appearance, almost all were defi- 
cient in the number of the digits, clumsy about the 
finger-nails, and lacking any tactile sensibility. 

The two most formidable Animal Men were 
my Leopard-man and a creature made of hyena 
and swine. Larger than these were the three 
bull-creatures who pulled in the boat. Then 
came the silvery-hairy-man, who was also the 
Sayer of the Law, M'ling, and a satyr-like 
creature of ape and goat. There were three 
Swine-men and a Swine-woman, a mare-rhinoc- 
eros-creature, and several other females whose 
152 



Concerning the Beast Folk. 

sources I did not ascertain. There were several 
wolf-creatures, a bear-bull, and a Saint-Bernard- 
man. I have already described the Ape-man, 
and there was a particularly hateful (and evil- 
smelling) old woman made of vixen and bear, 
whom I hated from the beginning. She was 
said to be a passionate votary of the Law. 
Smaller creatures were certain dappled youths 
and my little sloth-creature. But enough of this 
catalogue. 

At first I had a shivering horror of the brutes, 
felt all too keenly that they were still brutes ; 
but insensibly I became a little habituated to 
the idea of them, and moreover I was affected 
by Montgomery's attitude towards them. He 
had been with them so long that he had come 
to regard them as almost normal human beings. 
His London days seemed a glorious, impossible 
past to him. Only once in a year or so did he 
go to Arica to deal with Moreau's agent, a 
trader in animals there. He hardly met the 
finest type of mankind in that seafaring village 
of Spanish mongrels. The men aboard-ship, 
he told me, seemed at first just as strange to him 
as the Beast Men seemed to me, unnaturally 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

long in the leg, flat in the face, prominent in 
the forehead, suspicious, dangerous, and cold- 
hearted. In fact, he did not like men : his 
heart had warmed to me, he thought, because 
he had saved my life. I fancied even then that 
he had a sneaking kindness for some of these 
metamorphosed brutes, a vicious sympathy with 
some of their ways, but that he attempted to veil 
it from me at first. 

M'ling, the black- faced man, Montgomery's 
attendant, the first of the Beast Folk I had en- 
countered, did not live with the others across 
the island, but in a small kennel at the back of 
the enclosure. The creature was scarcely so 
intelligent as the Ape-man, but far more docile, 
and the most human-looking of all the Beast 
Folk ; and Montgomery had trained it to pre- 
pare food, and indeed to discharge all the trivial 
domestic offices that were required. It was a 
complex trophy of Moreau' s horrible skill, a 
bear, tainted with dog and ox, and one of the 
most elaborately made of all his creatures. It 
treated Montgomery with a strange tenderness 
and devotion. Sometimes he would notice it, 
pat it, call it half-mocking, half-jocular names, 



Concerning the Beast Folk. 

and so make it caper with extraordinary delight ; 
sometimes he would ill-treat it, especially after 
he had been at the whiskey, kicking it, beating 
it, pelting it with stones or lighted fusees. But 
whether he treated it well or ill, it loved 
nothing so much as to be near him. 

I say I became habituated to the Beast People, 
that a thousand things which had seemed un- 
natural and repulsive speedily became natural 
and ordinary to me. I suppose everything in 
existence takes its colour from the average hue 
of our surroundings. Montgomery and Moreau 
were too peculiar and individual to keep my 
general impressions of humanity well defined. 
I would see one of the clumsy bovine-creatures 
who worked the launch, treading heavily through 
the undergrowth, and find myself asking, trying 
hard to recall, how he differed from some really 
human yokel trudging home from his mechani- 
cal labours ; or I would meet the Fox-bear 
woman's vulpine, shifty face, strangely human 
in its speculative cunning, and even imagine I 
had met it before in some city byway. 

Yet every now and then the beast would 
flash out upon me beyond doubt or denial. An 

*$$ 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

ugly-looking man, a hunch-backed human savage 
to all appearance, squatting in the aperture of 
one of the dens, would stretch his arms and 
yawn, showing with startling suddenness scissor- 
edged incisors and sabre-like canines, keen 
and brilliant as knives. Or in some narrow 
pathway, glancing with a transitory daring into 
the eyes of some lithe, white-swathed female 
figure, I would suddenly see (with a spasmodic 
revulsion) that she had slit-like pupils, or glan- 
cing down note the curving nail with which she 
held her shapeless wrap about her. It is a 
curious thing, by the bye, for which I am quite 
unable to account, that these weird creatures 
the females, I mean had in the earlier days of 
my stay an instinctive sense of their own repul- 
sive clumsiness, and displayed in consequence a 
more than human regard for the decency and 
decorum of extensive costume. 



'56 



XVI. 

HOW THE BEAST FOLK TASTE BLOOD. 

MY inexperience as a writer betrays me, and 
I wander from the thread of my story. 
After I had breakfasted with Montgomery, he 
took me across the island to see the fiimarole and 
the source of the hot spring into whose scalding 
waters I had blundered on the previous day. 
Both of us carried Whips and loaded revolvers. 
While going through a leafy jungle on our road 
thither, we heard a rabbit squealing. We 
stopped and listened, but we heard no more ; 
and presently we went on our way, and the 
incident dropped out of our minds. Mont- 
gomery called my attention to certain little pink 
animals with long hind-legs, that went leaping 
through the undergrowth. He told me they 
were creatures made of the offspring of the 
Beast People, that Moreau had invented. He 
had fancied they might serve for meat, but a 

157 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

rabbit-like habit of devouring their young had 
defeated this intention. I had already encoun- 
tered some of these creatures, once during my 
moonlight flight from the Leopard-man, and 
once during my pursuit by Moreau on the pre- 
vious day. By chance, one hopping to avoid 
us leapt into the hole caused by the uprooting of 
a wind-blown tree ; before it could extricate 
itself we managed to catch it. It spat like a cat, 
scratched and kicked vigorously with its hind- 
legs, and made an attempt to bite ; but its teeth 
were too feeble to inflict more than a painless 
pinch. It seemed to me rather a pretty little 
creature ; and as Montgomery stated that it 
never destroyed the turf by burrowing, and was 
very cleanly in its habits, I should imagine it 
might prove a convenient substitute for the 
commdn rabbit in gentlemen's parks. 

We also saw on our way the trunk of a tree 
barked in long strips and splintered deeply. 
Montgomery called my attention to this. " Not 
to claw bark of trees, that is the Law," he said. 
" Much some of them care for it ! J ' It was 
after this, I think, that we met the Satyr and the 
Ape-man. The Satyr was a gleam of classical 

158 



How the Beast Folk taste Blood. 

memory on the part of Moreau, his face ovine 
in expression, like the coarser Hebrew type ; 
his voice a harsh bleat, his nether extremities 
Satanic. He was gnawing the husk of a pod- 
like fruit as he passed us. Both of them saluted 
Montgomery. 

"Hail," said they, "to the Other with the 
Whip ! " 

There 's a Third with a Whip now," said 
Montgomery. "So you'd better mind!" 

"Was he not made?" said the Ape-man. 
"He said he said he was made." 

The Satyr-man looked curiously at me. 
"The Third with the Whip, he that walks 
weeping into the sea, has a thin white face." 

" He has a thin long whip," said Montgomery. 

"Yesterday he bled and wept," said the 
Satyr. " You never bleed nor weep. The 
Master does not bleed or weep." 

" Ollendorffian beggar ! " said Montgomery, 
" you '11 bleed and weep if you don't look out ! " 

"He has five fingers, he is a five-man like 
me," said the Ape-man. 

"Come along, Prendick," said Montgomery, 
taking my arm ; and I went on with him. 
159 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

The Satyr and the Ape-man stood watch- 
ing us and making other remarks to each 
other. 

te He says nothing," said the Satyr. " Men 
have voices." 

" Yesterday he asked me of things to eat," 
said the Ape-man. "He did not know." 

Then they spoke inaudible things, and I 
heard the Satyr laughing. 

It was on our way back that we came upon 
the dead rabbit. The red body of the wretched 
little beast was rent to pieces, many of the ribs 
stripped white, and the backbone indisputably 
gnawed. 

At that Montgomery stopped. ' ' Good God ! " 
said he, stooping down, and picking up some of 
the crushed vertebrae to examine them more 
closely. "Good God!" he repeated, "what 
can this mean ?" 

"Some carnivore of yours has remembered its 
old habits," I said after a pause. " This back- 
bone has been bitten through." 

He stood staring, with his face white and his 
lip pulled askew. " I don't like this," he 
said slowly. 

160 



How the Beast Folk taste Blood. 

" I saw something of the same kind," said I, 
"the first day I came here." 

The devil you did ! What was it ? " 

" A rabbit with its head twisted off." 

" The day you came here ? " 

" The day I came here. In the under- 
growth at the back of the enclosure, when I 
went out in the evening. The head was com- 
pletely wrung off." 

He gave a long, low whistle. 

" And what is more, I have an idea which 
of your brutes did the thing. It 's only a sus- 
picion, you know. Before I came on the rabbit 
I saw one of your monsters drinking in the 
stream." 

" Sucking his drink?" 

Yes." 

" ' Not to suck your drink ; that is the Law.' 
Much the brutes care for the Law, eh ? when 
Moreau J s not about ! " 

" It was the brute who chased me." 

" Of course," said Montgomery ; " it 's just 

the way with carnivores. After a kill, they 

drink. It 's the taste of blood, you know. 

What was the brute like?" he continued. 

ii 161 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

" Would you know him again ? ' ' He glanced 
about us, standing astride over the mess of dead 
rabbit, his eyes roving among the shadows and 
screens of greenery, the lurking-places and am- 
buscades of the forest that bounded us in. 
"The taste of blood," he said again. 

He took out his revolver, examined the cart- 
ridges in it and replaced it. Then he began to 
pull at his dropping lip. 

"I think I should know the brute again," I 
said. "I stunned him. He ought to have a 
handsome bruise on the forehead of him." 

" But then we have to prove that he killed 
the rabbit," said Montgomery. "I wish I'd 
never brought the things here." 

I should have gone on, but he stayed there 
thinking over the mangled rabbit in a puzzle- 
headed way. As it was, I went to such a dis- 
tance that the rabbit's remains were hidden. 

"Come on!" I said. 

Presently he woke up and came towards 
me. "You see," he said, almost in a whisper, 
" they are all supposed to have a fixed idea 
against eating anything that runs on land. If 
some brute has by any accident tasted blood " 
162 



How the Beast Folk taste Blood. 

He went on some way in silence. " I wonder 
what can have happened," he said to himself. 
Then, after a pause again : " I did a foolish 
thing the other day. That servant of mine I 
showed him how to skin and cook a rabbit. 
It's odd I saw him licking his hands 
It never occurred to me." Then : We 
must put a stop to this. I must tell 
Moreau." 

He could think of nothing else on our home- 
ward journey. 

Moreau took the matter even more seriously 
than Montgomery, and I need scarcely say that 
I was affected by their evident consternation. 

"We must make an example," said Moreau. 
" I *ve no doubt in my own mind that the 
Leopard-man was the sinner. But how can we 
prove it ? I wish, Montgomery, you had kept 
your taste for meat in hand, and gone without 
these exciting novelties. We may find ourselves 
in a mess yet, through it." 

"I was a silly ass," said Montgomery. 
" But the thing J s done now ; and you said I 
might have them, you know." 

"We must see to the thing at once," said 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

Moreau. "I suppose if anything should turn 
up, M'ling can take care of himself? " 

" I 'm not so sure of M'ling," said Mont- 
gomery. "I think I ought to know him." 

In the afternoon, Moreau, Montgomery, my- 
self, and M'ling went across the island to the 
huts in the ravine. We three were armed; 
M'ling carried the little hatchet he used in chop- 
ping firewood, and some coils of wire. Moreau 
had a huge cowherd's horn slung over his 
shoulder. 

" You will see a gathering of the Beast 
People," said Montgomery. "It is a pretty 
sight!" 

Moreau said not a word on the way, but the 
expression of his heavy, white-fringed face was 
grimly set. 

We crossed the ravine down which smoked 
the stream of hot water, and followed the wind- 
ing pathway through the canebrakes until we 
reached a wide area covered over with a thick, 
powdery yellow substance which I believe was 
sulphur. Above the shoulder of a weedy bank 
the sea glittered. We came to a kind of shallow 
natural amphitheatre, and here the four of us 
164 



How the Beast Folk taste Blood. 

halted. Then Moreau sounded the horn, and 
broke the sleeping stillness of the tropical after- 
noon. He must have had strong lungs. The 
hooting note rose and rose amidst its echoes, 
to at last an ear-penetrating intensity. 

"Ah!" said Moreau, letting the curved 
instrument fall to his side again. 

Immediately there was a crashing through the 
yellow canes, and a sound of voices from the 
dense green jungle that marked the morass 
through which I had run on the previous day. 
Then at three or four points on the edge of the 
sulphurous area appeared the grotesque forms of 
the Beast People hurrying towards us. I could 
not help a creeping horror, as I perceived first 
one and then another trot out from the trees or 
reeds and come shambling along over the hot 
dust. But Moreau and Montgomery stood 
calmly enough ; and, perforce, I stuck beside 
them. 

First to arrive was the Satyr, strangely unreal 
for all that he cast a shadow and tossed the dust 
with his hoofs. After him from the brake came 
a monstrous lout, a thing of horse and rhi- 
noceros, chewing a straw as it came ; then ap- 

165 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

peared the Swine-woman and two Wolf-women ; 
then the Fox-bear witch, with her red eyes in 
her peaked red face, and then others, all 
hurrying eagerly. As they came forward they 
began to cringe towards Moreau and chant, 
quite regardless of one another, fragments of the 
latter half of the litany of the Law, "His 
is the Hand that wounds ; His is the Hand that 
heals," and so forth. As soon as they had 
approached within a distance of perhaps thirty 
yards they halted, and bowing on knees and 
elbows began flinging the white dust upon 
their heads. 

Imagine the scene if you can! We three 
blue-clad men, with our misshapen black-faced 
attendant, standing in a wide expanse of sunlit 
yellow dust under the blazing blue sky, and 
surrounded by this circle of crouching and ges- 
ticulating monstrosities, some almost human 
save in their subtle expression and gestures, some 
like cripples, some so strangely distorted as to 
resemble nothing but the denizens of our wildest 
dreams ; and, beyond, the reedy lines of a 
canebrake in one direction, a dense tangle of 
palm-trees on the other, separating us from the 
166 



How the Beast Folk taste Blood. 

ravine with the huts, and to the north the hazy 
horizon of the Pacific Ocean. 

"Sixty-two, sixty-three," counted Moreau. 
"There are four more." 

" I do not see the Leopard-man," said I. 

Presently Moreau sounded the great horn 
again, and at the sound of it all the Beast People 
writhed and grovelled in the dust. Then, 
slinking out of the canebrake, stooping near the 
ground and trying to join the dust-throwing 
circle behind Moreau' s back, came the Leopard- 
man. The last of the Beast People to arrive 
was the little Ape-man. The earlier animals, 
hot and weary with their grovelling, shot vicious 
glances at him. 

" Cease ! " said Moreau, in his firm, loud 
voice ; and the Beast People sat back upon their 
hams and rested from their worshipping. 

"Where is the Sayer of the Law?" said 
Moreau, and the hairy-grey monster bowed his 
face in the dust. 

" Say the words ! " said Moreau. 

Forthwith all in the kneeling assembly, sway- 
ing from side to side and dashing up the sulphur 
with their hands, first the right hand and 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

a puff of dust, and then the left, began once 
more to chant their strange litany. When they 
reached, "Not to eat Flesh or Fowl, that is the 
Law," Moreau held up his lank white hand. 

" Stop !" he cried, and there fell absolute 
silence upon them all. 

I think they all knew and dreaded what was 
coming. I looked round at their strange faces. 
When I saw their wincing attitudes and the fur- 
tive dread in their bright eyes, I wondered that 
I had ever believed them to be men. 

" That Law has been broken ! ' ' said Moreau. 

" None escape," from the faceless creature 
with the silvery hair. "None escape," re- 
peated the kneeling circle of Beast People. 

"Who is he?" cried Moreau, and looked 
round at their faces, cracking his whip. I fan- 
cied the Hyena-swine looked dejected, so too 
did the Leopard-man. Moreau stopped, feeing 
this creature, who cringed towards him with 
the memory and dread of infinite torment. 
" Who is he ? " repeated Moreau, in a voice of 
thunder. 

" Evil is he who breaks the Law," chanted 
the Sayer of the Law. 

1 68 



How the Beast Folk taste Blood. 

Moreau looked into the eyes of the Leopard- 
man, and seemed to be dragging the very soul 
out of the creature. 

"Who breaks the Law " said Moreau, 
taking his eyes off his victim, and turning to- 
wards us (it seemed to me there was a touch of 
exultation in his voice). 

" Goes back to the House of Pain," they all 
clamoured, " goes back to the House of Pain, 
O Master ! " 

" Back to the House of Pain, back to the 
House of Pain," gabbled the Ape-man, as 
though the idea was sweet to him. 

" Do you hear ? ' ' said Moreau, turning 
back to the criminal, "my friend Hullo!" 

For the Leopard-man, released from Moreau's 
eye, had risen straight from his knees, and now, 
with eyes aflame and his huge feline tusks flash- 
ing out from under his curling lips, leapt towards 
his tormentor. I am convinced that only the 
madness of unendurable fear could have prompted 
this attack. The whole circle of threescore 
monsters seemed to rise about us. I drew my 
revolver. The two figures collided. I saw 
Moreau reeling back from the Leopard-man's 
169 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

blow. There was a furious yelling and howling 
all about us. Every one was moving rapidly. 
For a moment I thought it was a general revolt. 
The furious face of the Leopard-man flashed by 
mine, with M'ling close in pursuit. I saw the 
yellow eyes of the Hyena-swine blazing with 
excitement, his attitude as if he were half re- 
solved to attack me. The Satyr, too, glared at 
me over the Hyena- swine's hunched shoulders. 
I heard the crack of Moreau' s pistol, and saw 
the pink flash dart across the tumult. The 
whole crowd seemed to swing round in the 
direction of the glint of fire, and I too was 
swung round by the magnetism of the movement. 
In another second I was running, one of a 
tumultuous shouting crowd, in pursuit of the 
escaping Leopard-man. 

That is all I can tell definitely. I saw the 
Leopard-man strike Moreau, and then every- 
thing spun about me until I was running head- 
long. M'ling was ahead, close in pursuit of the 
fugitive. Behind, their tongues already lolling 
out, ran the Wolf-women in great leaping 
strides. The Swine folk followed, squealing 
with excitement, and the two Bull-men in their 
170 



How the Beast Folk taste Blood. 

swathings of white. Then came Moreau in a 
cluster of the Beast People, his wide-brimmed 
straw hat blown off, his revolver in hand, and 
his lank white hair streaming out. The Hyena- 
swine ran beside me, keeping pace with me and 
glancing furtively at me out of his feline eyes, 
and the others came pattering and shouting 
behind us. 

The Leopard-man went bursting his way 
through the long canes, which sprang back as 
he passed, and rattled in M'ling's face. We 
others in the rear found a trampled path for us 
when we reached the brake. The chase lay 
through the brake for perhaps a quarter of a 
mile, and then plunged into a dense thicket, 
which retarded our movements exceedingly, 
though we went through it in a crowd together, 
fronds flicking into our faces, ropy creepers 
catching us under the chin or gripping our ankles, 
thorny plants hooking into and tearing cloth and 
flesh together. 

"He has gone on all-fours through this," 
panted Moreau, now just ahead of me. 

"None escape," said the Wolf-bear, laugh- 
ing into my face with the exultation of hunting. 
171 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

We burst out again among rocks, and saw 
the quarry ahead running lightly on all-fours and 
snarling at us over his shoulder. At that the 
Wolf Folk howled with delight. The Thing 
was still clothed, and at a distance its face still 
seemed human ; but the carriage of its four limbs 
was feline, and the furtive droop of its shoulder 
was distinctly that of a hunted animal. It leapt 
over some thorny yellow-flowering bushes, and 
was hidden. M'ling was halfway across the 
space. 

Most of us now had lost the first speed 
the chase, and had fallen into a longer and 
steadier stride. I saw as we traversed the open 
that the pursuit was now spreading from a col- 
umn into a line. The Hyena-swine still ran 
close to me, watching me as it ran, every now 
and then puckering its muzzle with a snarling 
laugh. At the edge of the rocks the Leopard- 
man, realising that he was making for the pro- 
jecting cape upon which he had stalked me on 
the night of my arrival, had doubled in the 
undergrowth ; but Montgomery had seen the 
manoeuvre, and turned him again. So, panting, 
tumbling against rocks, torn by brambles, im- 
172 



How the Beast Folk taste Blood. 

peded by ferns and reeds, I helped to pursue 
the Leopard-man who had broken the Law, and 
the Hyena-swine ran, laughing savagely, by 
my side. I staggered on, my head reeling and 
my heart beating against my ribs, tired almost 
to death, and yet not daring to lose sight of the 
chase lest I should be left alone with this horrible 
companion. I staggered on in spite of infinite 
fatigue and the dense heat of the tropical after- 
noon. 

At last the fury of the hunt slackened. We 
had pinned the wretched brute into a corner 
of the island. Moreau, whip in hand, mar- 
shalled us all into an irregular line, and we ad- 
vanced now slowly, shouting to one another as 
we advanced and tightening the cordon about our 
victim. He lurked noiseless and invisible in 
the bushes through which I had run from him 
during that midnight pursuit. 

" Steady ! " cried Moreau, " steady ! " as 
the ends of the line crept round the tangle of 
undergrowth and hemmed the brute in. 

" Ware a rush ! " came the voice of Mont- 
gomery from beyond the thicket. 

I was on the slope above the bushes ; Mont- 
173 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

gomery and Moreau beat along the beach be- 
neath. Slowly we pushed in among the fretted 
network of branches and leaves. The quarry 
was silent. 

" Back to the House of Pain, the House of 
Pain, the House of Pain ! " yelped the voice of 
the Ape-man, some twenty yards to the right. 

When I heard that, I forgave the poor wretch 
all the fear he had inspired in me. I heard 
the twigs snap and the boughs swish aside before 
the heavy tread of the Horse-rhinoceros upon 
my right. Then suddenly through a polygon 
of green, in the half darkness under the luxuriant 
growth, I saw the creature we were hunting. 
I halted. He was crouched together into the 
smallest possible compass, his luminous green 
eyes turned over his shoulder regarding me. 

It may seem a strange contradiction in me, 
I cannot explain the fact, but now, seeing 
the creature there in a perfectly animal attitude, 
with the light gleaming in its eyes and its im- 
perfectly human face distorted with terror, I 
realised again the fact of its humanity. In 
another moment other of its pursuers would see 
it, and it would be overpowered and captured, 
174 



How the Beast Folk taste Blood. 

to experience once more the horrible tortures 
of the enclosure. Abruptly I slipped out my 
revolver, aimed between its terror-struck eyes, 
and fired. As I did so, the Hyena-swine saw 
the Thing, and flung itself upon it with an eager 
cry, thrusting thirsty teeth into its neck. All 
about me the green masses of the thicket were 
swaying and cracking as the Beast People came 
rushing together. One face and then another 
appeared. 

"Don't kill it, Prendick ! " cried Moreau. 
" Don't kill it ! " and I saw him stooping as he 
pushed through under the fronds of the big 
ferns. 

In another moment he had beaten off the 
Hyena- swine with the handle of his whip, and 
he and Montgomery were keeping away the 
excited carnivorous Beast People, and particu- 
larly M'ling, from the still quivering body. 
The hairy-grey Thing came sniffing at the corpse 
under my arm. The other animals, in their 
animal ardour, jostled me to get a nearer view. 

"Confound you, Prendick!" said Moreau. 
"I wanted him." 

"I'm sorry," said I, though I was not. 

'75 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

"It was the impulse of the moment." I felt 
sick with exertion and excitement. Turning, I 
pushed my way out of the crowding Beast 
People and went on alone up the slope towards 
the higher part of the headland. Under the 
shouted directions of Moreau I heard the three 
white-swathed Bull-men begin dragging the vic- 
tim down towards the water. 

It was easy now for me to be alone. The 
Beast People manifested a quite human curiosity 
about the dead body, and followed it in a thick 
knot, sniffing and growling at it as the Bull-men 
dragged it down the beach. I went to the 
headland and watched the Bull-men, black 
against the evening sky, as they carried the 
weighted dead body out to sea ; and like a wave 
across my mind came the realisation of the un- 
speakable aimlessness of things upon the island. 
Upon the beach among the rocks beneath me 
were the Ape-man, the Hyena-swine, and sev- 
eral other of the Beast People, standing about 
Montgomery and Moreau. They were all still 
intensely excited, and all overflowing with noisy 
expressions of their loyalty to the Law ; yet I 
felt an absolute assurance in my own mind that 
176 



How the Beast Folk taste Blood. 

the Hyena-swine was implicated in the rabbit- 
killing. A strange persuasion came upon me, 
that, save for the grossness of the line, the gro- 
tesqueness of the forms, I had here before me 
the whole balance of human life in miniature, 
the whole interplay of instinct, reason, and fate 
in its simplest form. The Leopard-man had 
happened to go under : that was all the differ- 
ence. Poor brute! 

Poor brutes! I began to see the viler aspect 
of Moreau's cruelty. I had not thought before 
of the pain and trouble that came to these poor 
victims after they had passed from Moreau's 
hands. I had shivered only at the days of 
actual torment in the enclosure. But now that 
seemed to me the lesser part. Before, they had 
been beasts, their instincts fitly adapted to their 
surroundings, and happy as living things may be. 
Now they stumbled in the shackles of humanity, 
lived in a fear that never died, fretted by a law 
they could not understand ; their mock-human 
existence, begun in an agony, was one long inter- 
nal struggle, one long dread of Moreau and 
for what? It was the wantonness of it that 
stirred me. 

12 j 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

Had Moreau had any intelligible object, I could 
have sympathised at least a little with him. I 
am not so squeamish about pain as that. I 
could have forgiven him a little even, had his 
motive been only hate. But he was so irre- 
sponsible, so utterly careless ! His curiosity, 
his mad, aimless investigations, drove him on; 
and the Things were thrown out to live a year 
or so, to struggle and blunder and suffer, and at 
last to die painfully. They were wretched in 
themselves ; the old animal hate moved them to 
trouble one another ; the Law held them back 
from a brief hot struggle and a decisive end to 
their natural animosities. 

In those days my fear of the Beast People 
went the way of my personal fear for Moreau. 
I fell indeed into a morbid state, deep and 
enduring, and alien to fear, which has left per- 
manent scars upon my mind. I must confess 
that I lost faith in the sanity of the world when 
I saw it suffering the painful disorder of this 
island. A blind Fate, a vast pitiless Mechanism, 
seemed to cut and shape the fabric of existence ; 
and I, Moreau (by his passion for research), 
Montgomery (by his passion for drink), the 



How the Beast Folk taste Blood. 

Beast People with their instincts and mental 
restrictions, were torn and crushed, ruthlessly, 
inevitably, amid the infinite complexity of its 
incessant wheels. But this condition did not 
come all at once : I think indeed that I antici- 
pate a little in speaking of it now. 



179 



XVII. 



A CATASTROPHE. 



OCARCELY six weeks passed before I 



o 



lost every feeling but dislike and abhor- 



rence for this infamous experiment of Moreau's. 
My one idea was to get away from these horri- 
ble caricatures of my Maker's image, back to 
the sweet and wholesome intercourse of men. 
My fellow-creatures, from whom I was thus 
separated, began to assume idyllic virtue and 
beauty in my memory. My first friendship 
with Montgomery did not increase. His long 
separation from humanity, his secret vice of 
drunkenness, his evident sympathy with the 
Beast People, tainted him to me. Several times 
I let him go alone among them. I avoided 
intercourse with them in every possible way. I 
spent an increasing proportion of my time upon 
the beach, looking for some liberating sail that 
never appeared, until one day there fell upon 
1 80 



A Catastrophe. 

us an appalling disaster, which put an altogether 
different aspect upon my strange surroundings. 

It was about seven or eight weeks after my 
landing, rather more, I think, though I had 
not troubled to keep account of the time, 
when this catastrophe occurred. It happened 
in the early morning I should think about 
six. I had risen and breakfasted early, having 
been aroused by the noise of three Beast Men 
carrying wood into the enclosure. 

After breakfast I went to the open gateway of 
the enclosure, and stood there smoking a cigarette 
and enjoying the freshness of the early morning. 
Moreau presently came round the corner of 
the enclosure and greeted me. He passed by 
me, and I heard him behind me unlock and 
enter his laboratory. So indurated was I at 
that time to the abomination of the place, that 
I heard without a touch of emotion the puma 
victim begin another day of torture. It met its 
persecutor with a shriek, almost exactly like that 
of an angry virago. 

Then suddenly something happened, I do 
not know what, to this day. I heard a short, 
sharp cry behind me, a fall, and turning saw an 
181 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

awful face rushing upon me, not human, not 
animal, but hellish, brown, seamed with red 
branching scars, red drops starting out upon it, 
and the lidless eyes ablaze. I threw up my 
arm to defend myself from the blow that flung 
me headlong with a broken forearm ; and the 
great monster, swathed in lint and with red- 
stained bandages fluttering about it, leapt over 
me and passed. I rolled over and over down 
the beach, tried to sit up, and collapsed upon 
my broken arm. Then Moreau appeared, his 
massive white face all the more terrible for the 
blood that trickled from his forehead. He 
carried a revolver in one hand. He scarcely 
glanced at me, but rushed off at once in pursuit 
of the puma. 

I tried the other arm and sat up. The 
muffled figure in front ran in great striding 
leaps along the beach, and Moreau followed her. 
She turned her head and saw him, then doubling 
abruptly made for the bushes. She gained upon 
him at every stride. I saw her plunge into them, 
and Moreau, running slantingly to intercept 
her, fired and missed as she disappeared. Then 
he too vanished in the green confusion. 
182 



A Catastrophe. 

I stared after them, and then the pain in my 
arm flamed up, and with a groan I staggered to 
my feet. Montgomery appeared in the door- 
way, dressed, and with his revolver in his hand. 

" Great God, Prendick ! " he said, not notic- 
ing that I was hurt, "that brute's loose! 
Tore the fetter out of the wall ! Have you 
seen them?" Then sharply, seeing I gripped 
my arm, " What J s the matter ? ' ' 

"I was standing in the doorway," said I. 

He came forward and took my arm. " Blood 
on the sleeve," said he, and rolled back the 
flannel. He pocketed his weapon, felt my 
arm about painfully, and led me inside. " Your 
arm is broken," he said, and then, "Tell me 
exactly how it happened what happened ? " 

I told him what I had seen; told him in 
broken sentences, with gasps of pain between 
them, and very dexterously and swiftly he bound 
my arm meanwhile. He slung it from my 
shoulder, stood back and looked at me. 

" You '11 do," he said. And now ? " 

He thought. Then he went out and locked 
the gates of the enclosure. He was absent some 
time. 

183 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

I was chiefly concerned about my arm. Tl 
incident seemed merely one more of many 
horrible things. I sat down in the deck chair, 
and I must admit swore heartily at the island. 
The first dull feeling of injury in my arm had 
already given way to a burning pain when 
Montgomery reappeared. His face was rather 
pale, and he showed more of his lower gums 
than ever. 

" I can neither see nor hear anything 
him," he said. "I 've been thinking he may 
want my help." He stared at me with his 
expressionless eyes. "That was a strong 
brute," he said. " It simply wrenched its 
fetter out of the wall." He went to the 
window, then to the door, and there turned 
to me. "I shall go after him," he said. 
"There's another revolver I can leave with 
you. To tell you the truth, I feel anxious 
somehow." 

He obtained the weapon, and put it ready to 
my hand on the table ; then went out, leaving 
a restless contagion in the air. I did not sit 
long after he left, but took the revolver in hand 
and went to the doorway. 
184 



A Catastrophe. 

The morning was as still as death. Not a 
whisper of wind was stirring ; the sea was like 
polished glass, the sky empty, the beach deso- 
late. In my half-excited, half-feverish state, 
this stillness of things oppressed me. I tried to 
whistle, and the tune died away. I swore again, 
the second time that morning. Then I went 
to the corner of the enclosure and stared inland 
at the green bush that had swallowed up 
Moreau and Montgomery. When would they 
return, and how ? Then far away up the beach 
a little grey Beast Man appeared, ran down to 
the water's edge and began splashing about. I 
strolled back to the doorway, then to the corner 
again, and so began pacing to and fro like a 
sentinel upon duty. Once I was arrested by 
the distant voice of Montgomery bawling, 
"Coo-ee Mor-eau ! " My arm became 
less painful, but very hot. I got feverish and 
thirsty. My shadow grew shorter. I watched 
the distant figure until it went away again. 
Would Moreau and Montgomery never return ? 
Three sea-birds began fighting for some stranded 
treasure. 

Then from far away behind the enclosure I 

185 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

heard a pistol-shot. A long silence, and then 
came another. Then a yelling cry nearer, and 
another dismal gap of silence. My unfortunate 
imagination set to work to torment me. Then 
suddenly a shot close by. I went to the corner, 
startled, and saw Montgomery, his face scarlet, 
his hair disordered, and the knee of his trousers 
torn. His face expressed profound consterna- 
tion. Behind him slouched the Beast Man, 
M'ling, and round M' ling's jaws were some 
queer dark stains. 

" Has he come ?" said Montgomery. 

"Moreau?" said I. "No." 

" My God ! ' ' The man was panting, 
almost sobbing. "Go back in," he said, tak- 
ing my arm. "They're mad. They're all 
rushing about mad. What can have happened ? 
I don't know. I '11 tell you, when my breath 
comes. Where 's some brandy ? " 

Montgomery limped before me into the room 
and sat down in the deck chair. M'ling flung 
himself down just outside the doorway and 
began panting like a dog. I got Montgomery 
some brandy-and-water. He sat staring in front 
of him at nothing, recovering his breath. After 
186 



A Catastrophe. 

some minutes he began to tell me what had 
happened. 

He had followed their track for some way. 
It was plain enough at first on account of the 
crushed and broken bushes, white rags torn from 
the puma's bandages, and occasional smears of 
blood on the leaves of the shrubs and under- 
growth. He lost the track, however, on the 
stony ground beyond the stream where I had 
seen the Beast Man drinking, and went wander- 
ing aimlessly westward shouting Moreau's name. 
Then M'ling had come to him carrying a light 
hatchet. M'ling had seen nothing of the puma 
affair ; had been felling wood, and heard him 
catling. They went on shouting together. 
Two Beast Men came crouching and peering at 
them through the undergrowth, with gestures 
and a furtive carriage that alarmed Montgomery 
by their strangeness. He hailed them, and 
they fled guiltily. He stopped shouting after 
that, and after wandering some time farther in an 
undecided way, determined to visit the huts. 

He found the ravine deserted. 

Growing more alarmed every minute, he 
began to retrace his steps. Then it was he 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

encountered the two Swine-men I had seen 
dancing on the night of my arrival ; blood- 
stained they were about the mouth, and intensely 
excited. They came crashing through the ferns, 
and stopped with fierce faces when they saw 
him. He cracked his whip in some trepida- 
tion, and forthwith they rushed at him. Never 
before had a Beast Man dared to do that. One 
he shot through the head ; M' ling flung him- 
self upon the other, and the two rolled grap- 
pling. M'ling got his brute under and with his 
teeth in its throat, and Montgomery shot that 
too as it struggled in M'ling's grip. He had 
some difficulty in inducing M'ling to come on 
with him. Thence they had hurried back 
to me. On the way, M'ling had suddenly 
rushed into a thicket and driven out an under- 
sized Ocelot-man, also blood-stained, and lame 
through a wound in the foot. This brute had 
run a little way and then turned savagely at 
bay, and Montgomery with a certain wan- 
tonness, I thought had shot him. 

" What does it all mean ? " said I. 

He shook his head, and turned once more to 
the brandy. 

1 88 



XVIII. 

THE FINDING OF MOREAU. 

\ 17 HEN I saw Montgomery swallow a third 
* ^ dose of brandy, I took it upon myself to 
interfere. He was already more than half 
fuddled. I told him that some serious thing 
must have happened to Moreau by this time, or 
he would have returned before this, and that it 
behoved us to ascertain what that catastrophe 
was. Montgomery raised some feeble objec- 
tions, and at last agreed. We had some food, 
and then all three of us started. 

It is possibly due to the tension of my mind 
at the time, but even now that start into the hot 
stillness of the tropical afternoon is a singularly 
vivid impression. M'ling went first, his shoul- 
der hunched, his strange black head moving with 
quick starts as he peered first on this side of the 
way and then on that. He was unarmed ; his 
axe he had dropped when he encountered the 
Swine-man. Teeth were bis weapons, when it 
189 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

came to fighting. Montgomery followed with 
stumbling footsteps, his hands in his pockets, his 
face downcast ; he was in a state of muddled 
sullenness with me on account of the brandy. 
My left arm was in a sling (it was lucky it was 
my left), and I carried my revolver in my right. 
Soon we traced a narrow path through the wild 
luxuriance of the island, going northwestward ; 
and presently M'ling stopped, and became rigid 
with watchfulness. Montgomery almost stag- 
gered into him, and then stopped too. Then, 
listening intently, we heard coming through the 
trees the sound of voices and footsteps approach- 
ing us. 

" He is dead," said a deep, vibrating voice. 

" He is not dead ; he is not dead," jabbered 
another. 

"We saw, we saw," said several voices. 

" Hul-\Q \ " suddenly shouted Montgomery,. 
"Hul-lo, there!" 

"Confound you!" said I, and gripped my 
pistol. 

There was a silence, then a crashing among 
the interlacing vegetation, first here, then there, 
and then half-a-dozen faces appeared, strange 
190 



The Finding of Moreau. 

faces, lit by a strange light. M'ling made a 
growling noise in his throat. I recognised the 
Ape-man : I had indeed already identified his 
voice, and two of the white-swathed brown- 
featured creatures I had seen in Montgomery's 
boat. With these were the two dappled brutes 
and that grey, horribly crooked creature who 
said the Law, with grey hair streaming down 
its cheeks, heavy grey eyebrows, and grey locks 
pouring off from a central parting upon its slop- 
ing forehead, a heavy, faceless thing, with 
strange red eyes, looking at us curiously from 
amidst the green. 

For a space no one spoke. Then Mont- 
gomery hiccoughed, " Who said he was 
dead?" 

The Monkey-man looked guiltily at the 
hairy -grey Thing. "He is dead," said this 
monster. "They saw." 

There was nothing threatening about this 
detachment, at any rate. They seemed awe- 
stricken and puzzled. 

" Where is he ? " said Montgomery. 

"Beyond," and the grey creature pointed. 

" Is there a Law now ? " asked the Monkey - 
191 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

man. " Is it still to be this and that ? Is he 
dead indeed?" 

''Is there a Law?" repeated the man in 
white. " Is there a Law, thou Other with the 
Whip?" 

"He is dead," said the hairy-grey Thing. 

And they all stood watching us. 

"Prendick," said Montgomery, turning his 
dull eyes to me. " He *s dead, evidently." 

I had been standing behind him during this 
colloquy. I began to see how things lay with 
them. I suddenly stepped in front of Mont- 
gomery and lifted up my voice : 

"Children of the Law," I said, "he is 
not dead ! ' ' M'ling turned his sharp eyes on 
me. " He has changed his shape ; he has 
changed his body," I went on. "For a time 
you will not see him. He is there," I 
pointed upward, " where he can watch you. 
You cannot see him, but he can see you. Fear 
the Law!" 

I looked at them squarely. They flinched. 

" He is great, he is good," said the Ape- 
man, peering fearfully upward among the dense 
trees. 

192 



The Finding of Moreau. 

And the other Thing ? " I demanded. 

"The Thing that bled, and ran screaming 
and sobbing, that is dead too," said the grey 
Thing, still regarding me. 

" That *s well," grunted Montgomery. 

"The Other with the Whip " began the 
grey Thing. 

"Well?" said I. 

" Said he was dead." 

But Montgomery was still sober enough to 
understand my motive in denying Moreau's 
death. "He is not dead," he said slowly, 
" not dead at all. No more dead than I 
am." 

"Some," said I, " have broken the Law: 
they will die. Some have died. Show us 
now where his old body lies, the body he 
cast away because he had no more need of it." 

"It is this way, Man who walked in the 
Sea," said the grey Thing. 

And with these six creatures guiding us, we 
went through the tumult of ferns and creepers 
and tree-stems towards the northwest. Then 
came a yelling, a crashing among the branches, 
and a little pink homunculus rushed by us 
13 193 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

shrieking. Immediately after appeared a feral 
monster in headlong pursuit, blood-bedabbled, 
who was amongst us almost before he could 
stop his career. The grey Thing leapt aside. 
M'ling, with a snarl, flew at it, and was struck 
aside. Montgomery fired and missed, bowed 
his head, threw up his arm, and turned to run. 
I fired, and the Thing still came on ; fired 
again, point-blank, into its ugly face. I saw its 
features vanish in a flash: its face was driven in. 
Yet it passed me, gripped Montgomery, and 
holding him, fell headlong beside him and pulled 
him sprawling upon itself in its death-agony. 

I found myself alone with M'ling, the dead 
brute, and the prostrate man. Montgomery 
raised himself slowly and stared in a muddled 
way at the shattered Beast Man beside him. It 
more than half sobered him. He scrambled to 
his feet. Then I saw the grey Thing return- 
ing cautiously through the trees. 

"See," said I, pointing to the dead brute, 
"is the Law not alive ? This came of breaking 
the Law." 

He peered at the body. "He sends the 
Fire that kills," said he, in his deep voice, 
194 



The Finding of Moreau. 

repeating part of the Ritual. The others gath- 
ered round and stared for a space. 

At last we drew near the westward extremity 
of the island. We came upon the gnawed and 
mutilated body of the puma, its shoulder-bone 
smashed by a bullet, and perhaps twenty yards 
farther found at last what we sought. Moreau 
lay face downward in a trampled space in a 
canebrake. One hand was almost severed at the 
wrist, and his silvery hair was dabbled in blood. 
His head had been battered in by the fetters of 
the puma. The broken canes beneath him 
were smeared with blood. His revolver we 
could not find. Montgomery turned him 
over. 

Resting at intervals, and with the help of the 
seven Beast People (for he was a heavy man), 
we carried Moreau back to the enclosure. The 
night was darkling. Twice we heard unseen 
creatures howling and shrieking past our little 
band, and once the little pink sloth-creature 
appeared and stared at us, and vanished again. 
But we were not attacked again. At the gates 
of the enclosure our company of Beast People 
left us, M'ling going with the rest. We locked 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

ourselves in, and then took Moreau' s mangled 
body into the yard and laid it upon a pile of 
brushwood. Then we went into the labora- 
tory and put an end to all we found living 
there. 




XIX. 

MONTGOMERY'S "BANK HOLIDAY." 

"117 HEN this was accomplished, and we had 
* ^ washed and eaten, Montgomery and I 
went into my little room and seriously discussed 
our position for the first time. It was then near 
midnight. He was almost sober, but greatly 
disturbed in his mind. He had been strangely 
under the influence of Moreau's personality : 
I do not think it had ever occurred to him that 
Moreau could die. This disaster was the 
sudden collapse of the habits that had become 
part of his nature in the ten or more monoto- 
nous years he had spent on the island. He 
talked vaguely, answered my questions crook- 
edly, wandered into general questions. 

" This silly ass of a world," he said ; "what 
a muddle it all is ! I have n't had any life. I 
wonder when it *s going to begin. Sixteen years 
being bullied by nurses and schoolmasters at 
their own sweet will ; five in London grinding 
hard at medicine, bad food, shabby lodgings, 
197 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

shabby clothes, shabby vice, a blunder, / 
didn't know any better, and hustled off to 
this beastly island. Ten years here ! What 's 
it all for, Prendick ? Are we bubbles blown by 
a baby?" 

It was hard to deal with such ravings. 
" The thing we have to think of now,'* said I, 
" is how to get away from this island." 

"What's the good of getting away? I 'm 
an outcast. Where am / to join on ? It 's all 
very well for you, Prendick. Poor old Moreau! 
We can't leave him here to have his bones 
picked. As it is And besides, what will 
become of the decent part of the Beast Folk ? " 

"Well," said I, "that will do to-morrow. 
I 've been thinking we might make that brush- 
wood into a pyre and burn his body and 
those other things. Then what will happen 
with the Beast Folk ? " 

" /don't know. I suppose those that were 
made of beasts of prey will make silly asses of 
themselves sooner or later. We can't massacre 
the lot can we? I suppose that 's what your 
humanity would suggest ? But they '11 change. 
They are sure to change." 
198 



Montgomery's " Bank Holiday." 

He talked thus inconclusively until at last I 
felt my temper going. 

" Damnation ! ' ' he exclaimed at some petu- 
lance of mine ; " can't you see I 'm in a worse 
hole than you are ? " And he got up, and went 
for the brandy. " Drink! " he said returning, 
"you logic-chopping, chalky-faced saint of an 
atheist, drink ! " 

" Not I," said I, and sat grimly watching his 
face under the yellow paraffine flare, as he drank 
himself into a garrulous misery. 

I have a memory of infinite tedium. He 
wandered into a maudlin defence of the Beast 
People and of M'ling. M'ling, he said, was 
the only thing that had ever really cared for 
him. And suddenly an idea came to him. 

"I'm damned!" said he, staggering to his 
feet and clutching the brandy bottle. 

By some flash of intuition I knew what it 
was he intended. " You don't give drink to 
that beast ! " I said, rising and facing him. 

"Beast!" said he. "You're the beast. 
He takes his liquor like a Christian. Come out 
of the way, Prendick ! ' ' 

"For God's sake," said I. 
199 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

" Get out of the way!" he roared, and 
suddenly whipped out his revolver. 

"Very well," said I, and stood aside, half- 
minded to fall upon him as he put his hand 
upon the latch, but deterred by the thought of 
my useless arm. "You've made a beast of 
yourself, to the beasts you may go." 

He flung the doorway open, and stood half 
facing me between the yellow lamp-light and 
the pallid glare of the moon ; his eye-sockets 
were blotches of black under his stubbly eye- 
brows. 

"You're a solemn prig, Prendick, a silly 
ass ! You 're always fearing and fancying. 
We 're on the edge of things. I 'm bound to 
cut my throat to-morrow. I 'm going to have 
a damned Bank Holiday to-night." He turned 
and went out into the moonlight. " M'ling!" 
he cried ; " M'ling, old friend! " 

Three dim creatures in the silvery light came 
along the edge of the wan beach, one a white- 
wrapped creature, the other two blotches of black- 
ness following it. They halted, staring. Then 
I saw M'ling' s hunched shoulders as he came 
round the corner of the house. 
200 



Montgomery's " Bank Holiday." 

" Drink!" cried Montgomery, "drink, you 
brutes! Drink and be men! Damme, I'm 
the cleverest. Moreau forgot this ; this is the 
last touch. Drink, I tell you ! " And waving 
the bottle in his hand he started off at a kind of 
quick trot to the westward, M'ling ranging him- 
self between him and the three dim creatures 
who followed. 

I went to the doorway. They were already 
indistinct in the mist of the moonlight before 
Montgomery halted. I saw him administer a 
dose of the raw brandy to M'ling, and saw the 
five figures melt into one vague patch. 

"Sing!" I heard Montgomery shout, 
"sing all together, 'Confound old Prendick!' 
That 's right ; now again, Confound old 
Prendick!'" 

The black group broke up into five separate 
figures, and wound slowly away from me along 
the band of shining beach. Each went howling 
at his own sweet will, yelping insults at me, or 
giving whatever other vent this new inspiration 
of brandy demanded. Presently I heard Mont- 
gomery's voice shouting, "Right turn!" and 
they passed with their shouts and howls into the 

201 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

blackness of the landward trees. Slowly, very 
slowly, they receded into silence. 

The peaceful splendour of the night healed 
again. The moon was now past the meridian 
and travelling down the west. It was at its full, 
and very bright riding through the empty blue 
sky. The shadow of the wall lay, a yard wide 
and of inky blackness, at my feet. The east- 
ward sea was a featureless grey, dark and mys- 
terious ; and between the sea and the shadow 
the grey sands (of volcanic glass and crystals) 
flashed and shone like a beach of diamonds. 
Behind me the paraffine lamp flared hot and 
ruddy. 

Then I shut the door, locked it, and went 
into the enclosure where Moreau lay beside his 
latest victims, the staghounds and the llama 
and some other wretched brutes, with his 
massive face calm even after his terrible death, 
and with the hard eyes open, staring at the 
dead white moon above. I sat down upon the 
edge of the sink, and with my eyes upon that 
, ghastly pile of silvery light and ominous shadows 
began to turn over my plans. In the morning 
I would gather some provisions in the dingey, 
202 



Montgomery's u Bank Holiday." 

and after setting fire to the pyre before me, push 
out into the desolation of the high sea once 
more. I felt that for Montgomery there was 
no help ; that he was, in truth, half akin to 
these Beast Folk, unfitted for human kindred. 

I do not know how long I sat there schem- 
ing. It must have been an hour or so. Then 
my planning was interrupted by the return of 
Montgomery to my neighbourhood. I heard a 
yelling from many throats, a tumult of exultant 
cries passing down towards the beach, whoop- 
ing and howling, and excited shrieks that seemed 
to come to a stop near the water* s edge. The 
riot rose and fell ; I heard heavy blows and 
the splintering smash of wood, but it did not 
trouble me then. A discordant chanting 
began. 

My thoughts went back to my means of 
escape. I got up, brought the lamp, and went 
into a shed to look at some kegs I had seen 
there. Then I became interested in the con- 
tents of some biscuit-tins, and opened one. I 
saw something out of the tail of my eye, a 
red figure, and turned sharply. 

Behind me lay the yard, vividly black-and- 
203 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

white in the moonlight, and the pile of wood 
and faggots on which Moreau and his mutilated 
victims lay, one over another. They seemed 
to be gripping one another in one last revenge- 
ful grapple. His wounds gaped, black as night, 
and the blood that had dripped lay in black 
patches upon the sand. Then I saw, without 
understanding, the cause of my phantom, a 
ruddy glow that came and danced and went 
upon the wall opposite. I misinterpreted this, 
fancied it was a reflection of my flickering lamp, 
and turned again to the stores in the shed. I 
went on rummaging among them, as well as a 
one-armed man could, finding this convenient 
thing and that, and putting them aside for 
to-morrow's launch. My movements were 
slow, and the time passed quickly. Insensibly 
the daylight crept upon me. 

The chanting died down, giving place to a 
clamour ; then it began again, and suddenly 
broke into a tumult. I heard cries of, "More! 
more! " a sound like quarrelling, and a sudden 
wild shriek. The quality of the sounds changed 
so greatly that it arrested my attention. I went 
out into the yard and listened. Then cutting 
204 



Montgomery's " Bank Holiday." 

like a knife across the confusion came the crack 
of a revolver. 

I rushed at once through my room to the 
little doorway. As I did so I heard some of 
the packing-cases behind me go sliding down 
and smash together with a clatter of glass on the 
floor of the shed. But I did not heed these. 
I flung the door open and looked out. 

Up the beach by the boathouse a bonfire was 
burning, raining up sparks into the indistinctness 
of the dawn. Around this struggled a mass of 
black figures. I heard Montgomery call my 
name. I began to run at once towards this fire, 
revolver in hand. I saw the pink tongue of 
Montgomery's pistol lick out once, close to the 
ground. He was down. I shouted with all 
my strength and fired into the air. I heard 
some one cry, "The Master!" The knotted 
black struggle broke into scattering units, the fire 
leapt and sank down. The crowd of Beast 
People fled in sudden panic before me, up the 
beach. In my excitement I fired at their 
retreating backs as they disappeared among the 
bushes. Then I turned to the black heaps 
upon the ground. 

205 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

Montgomery lay on his back, with the hairy- 
grey Beast-man sprawling across his body. 
The brute was dead, but still gripping Mont- 
gomery's throat with its curving claws. Near 
by lay M'ling on his face and quite still, his neck 
bitten open and the upper part of the smashed 
brandy-bottle in his hand. Two other figures 
lay near the fire, the one motionless, the other 
groaning fitfully, every now and then raising 
its head slowly, then dropping it again. 

I caught hold of the grey man and pulled him 
off Montgomery's body ; his claws drew down 
the torn coat reluctantly as I dragged him away. 
Montgomery was dark in the face and scarcely 
breathing. I splashed sea-water on his face and 
pillowed his head on my rolled-up coat. M'ling 
was dead. The wounded creature by the fire 
it was a Wolf-brute with a bearded grey face 
lay, I found, with the fore part of its body 
upon the still glowing timber. The wretched 
thing was injured so dreadfully that in mercy I 
blew its brains out at once. The other brute 
was one of the Bull-men swathed in white. He 
too was dead. The rest of the Beast People 
had vanished from the beach. 
206 



Montgomery's u Bank Holiday." 

I went to Montgomery again and knelt beside 
him, cursing my ignorance of medicine. The 
fire beside me had sunk down, and only charred 
beams of timber glowing at the central ends and 
mixed with a grey ash of brushwood remained. 
I wondered casually where Montgomery had got 
his wood. Then I saw that the dawn was upon 
us. The sky had grown brighter, the setting 
moon was becoming pale and opaque in the 
luminous blue of the day. The sky to the east- 
ward was rimmed with red. 

Suddenly I heard a thud and a hissing behind 
me, and, looking round, sprang to my feet with 
a cry of horror. Against the warm dawn great 
tumultuous masses of black smoke were boiling 
up out of the enclosure, and through their stormy 
darkness shot flickering threads of blood-red 
flame. Then the thatched roof caught. I saw 
the curving charge of the flames across the slop- 
ing straw. A spurt of fire jetted from the 
window of my room. 

I knew at once what had happened. I 
remembered the crash I had heard. When I 
had rushed out to Montgomery's assistance, 
I had overturned the lamp. 
207 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

The hopelessness of saving any of the con- 
tents of the enclosure stared me in the face. 
My mind came back to my plan of flight, 
and turning swiftly I looked to see where 
the two boats lay upon the beach. They 
were gone! Two axes lay upon the sands 
beside me ; chips and splinters were scattered 
broadcast, and the ashes of the bonfire were 
blackening and smoking under the dawn. 
Montgomery had burnt the boats to revenge 
himself upon me and prevent our return to 
mankind ! 

A sudden convulsion of rage shook me. I 
was almost moved to batter his foolish head in, 
as he lay there helpless at my feet. Then sud- 
denly his hand moved, so feebly, so pitifully, 
that my wrath vanished. He groaned, and 
opened his eyes for a minute. I knelt down 
beside him and raised his head. He opened his 
eyes again, staring silently at the dawn, and then 
they met mine. The lids fell. 

"Sorry," he said presently, with an effort. 
He seemed trying to think. "The last," he 
murmured, " the last of this silly universe. 
What a mess " 

208 



Montgomery's " Bank Holiday." 

I listened. His head fell helplessly to one 
side. I thought some drink might revive him ; 
but there was neither drink nor vessel in which 
to bring drink at hand. He seemed suddenly 
heavier. My heart went cold. I bent down 
to his face, put my hand through the rent in his 
blouse. He was dead ; and even as he died a 
line of white heat, the limb of the sun, rose 
eastward beyond the projection of the bay, 
splashing its radiance across the sky and turning 
the dark sea into a weltering tumult of dazzling 
light. It fell like a glory upon his death- 
shrunken face. 

I let his head fall gently upon the rough 
pillow I had made for him, and stood up. 
Before me was the glittering desolation of the 
sea, the awful solitude upon which I had already 
suffered so much ; behind me the island, hushed 
under the dawn, its Beast People silent and un- 
seen. The enclosure, with all its provisions and 
ammunition, burnt noisily, with sudden gusts of 
flame, a fitful crackling, and now and then a 
crash. The heavy smoke drove up the beach 
away from me, rolling low over the distant 
tree-tops towards the huts in the ravine. Be- 
14 209 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

side me were the charred vestiges of the boats 
and these four dead bodies. 

Then out of the bushes came three Beast 
People, with hunched shoulders, protruding 
heads, misshapen hands awkwardly held, and 
inquisitive, unfriendly eyes, and advanced to- 
wards me with hesitating gestures. 






210 



XX. 

ALONE WITH THE BEAST FOLK. 

T FACED these people, facing my fate in 
* them, single-handed now, literally single- 
handed, for I had a broken arm. In my pocket 
was a revolver with two empty chambers. 
Among the chips scattered about the beach lay 
the two axes that had been used to chop up the 
boats. The tide was creeping in behind me. 
There was nothing for it but courage. I looked 
squarely into the faces of the advancing mon- 
sters. They avoided my eyes, and their quiver- 
ing nostrils investigated the bodies that lay 
beyond me on the beach. I took half-a-dozen 
steps, picked up the blood-stained whip that lay 
beneath the body of the Wolf-man, and cracked 
it. They stopped and stared at me. 
" Salute ! " said I. Bow down ! " 
They hesitated. One bent his knees. I 
repeated my command, with my heart in my 
mouth, and advanced upon them. One knelt, 
then the other two. 

211 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

I turned and walked towards the dead bodies, 
keeping my face towards the three kneeling 
Beast Men, very much as an actor passing up 
the stage faces the audience. 

"They broke the Law," said I, putting my 
foot on the Sayer of the Law. " They have 
been slain, even the Sayer of the Law ; even 
the Other with the Whip. Great is the Law! 
Come and see." 

" None escape," said one of them, advancing 
and peering. 

"None escape," said I. "Therefore hear 
and do as I command." They stood up, 
looking questioningly at one another. 

"Stand there," said I. 

I picked up the hatchets and swung them by 
their heads from the sling of my arm ; turned 
Montgomery over ; picked up his revolver still 
loaded in two chambers, and bending down to 
rummage, found half-a-dozen cartridges in his 
pocket. 

"Take him," said I, standing up again and 
pointing with the whip ; " take him, and carry 
him out and cast him into the sea." 

They came forward, evidently still afraid of 

212 



Alone with the Beast Folk. 

Montgomery, but still more afraid of my cracking 
red whip-lash; and after some fumbling and 
hesitation, some whip-cracking and shouting, 
they lifted him gingerly, carried him down to 
the beach, and went splashing into the dazzling 
welter of the sea. 

" On! " said I, "on! Carry him far." 
They went in up to their armpits and stood 
regarding me. 

"Let go," said I; and the body of Mont- 
gomery vanished with a splash. Something 
seemed to tighten across my chest. 

" Good! " said I, with a break in my voice ; 
and they came back, hurrying and fearful, to 
the margin of the water, leaving long wakes of 
black in the silver. At the water's edge they 
stopped, turning and glaring into the sea as 
though they presently expected Montgomery to 
arise therefrom and exact vengeance. 

"Now these," said I, pointing to the other 
bodies. 

They took care not to approach the place 

where they had thrown Montgomery into the 

water, but instead, carried the four dead Beast 

People slantingly along the beach for perhaps a 

213 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

hundred yards before they waded out and cast 
them away. 

As I watched them disposing of the mangled 
remains of M'ling, I heard a light footfall behind 
me, and turning quickly saw the big Hyena- 
swine perhaps a dozen yards away. His head 
was bent down, his bright eyes were fixed 
upon me, his stumpy hands clenched and held 
close by his side. He stopped in this crouch- 
ing attitude when I turned, his eyes a little 
averted. 

For a moment we stood eye to eye. I 
dropped the whip and snatched at the pistol in 
my pocket; for I meant to kill this brute, 
the most formidable of any left now upon the 
island, at the first excuse. It may seem 
treacherous, but so I was resolved. I was far 
more afraid of him than of any other two of the 
Beast Folk. His continued life was I knew a 
threat against mine. 

I was perhaps a dozen seconds collecting my- 
self. Then cried I, " Salute! Bow down! " 

His teeth flashed upon me in a snarl. "Who 
are you that I should ' ' 

Perhaps a little too spasmodically I drew my 
214 



Alone with the Beast Folk. 

revolver, aimed quickly and fired. I heard him 
yelp, saw him run sideways and turn, knew I 
had missed, and clicked back the cock with my 
thumb for the next shot. But he was already 
running headlong, jumping from side to side, 
and I dared not risk another miss. Every now 
and then he looked back at me over his shoul- 
der. He went slanting along the beach, and 
vanished beneath the driving masses of dense 
smoke that were still pouring out from the burn- 
ing enclosure. For some time I stood staring 
after him. I turned to my three obedient 
Beast Folk again and signalled them to drop the 
body they still carried. Then I went back to 
the place by the fire where the bodies had fallen, 
and kicked the sand until all the brown blood- 
stains were absorbed and hidden. 

I dismissed my three serfs with a wave of the 
hand, and went up the beach into the thickets. 
I carried my pistol in my hand, my whip thrust 
with the hatchets in the sling of my arm. I 
was anxious to be alone, to think out the posi- 
tion in which I was now placed. A dreadful 
thing that I was only beginning to realise was, 
that over all this island there was now no safe 
215 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

place where I could be alone and secure to rest 
or sleep. I had recovered strength amazingly 
since my landing, but I was still inclined to be 
nervous and to break down under any great 
stress. I felt that I ought to cross the island 
and establish myself with the Beast People, and 
make myself secure in their confidence. But 
my heart failed me. I went back to the beach, 
and turning eastward past the burning enclosure, 
made for a point where a shallow spit of coral 
sand ran out towards the reef. Here I could 
sit down and think, my back to the sea and my 
face against any surprise. And there I sat, chin 
on knees, the sun beating down upon my head 
and unspeakable dread in my mind, plotting 
how I could live on against the hour of my 
rescue (if ever rescue came). I tried to review 
the whole situation as calmly as I could, but it 
was difficult to clear the thing of emotion. 

I began turning over in my mind the reason 
of Montgomery's despair. " They will change," 
he said; "they are sure to change." And 
Moreau, what was it that Moreau had said? 
f< The stubborn beast-flesh grows day by day 
back again." Then I came round to the 
216 



Alone with the Beast Folk. 

Hyena-swine. I felt sure that if I did not 
kill that brute, he would kill me. The Sayer 
of the Law was dead: worse luck. They 
knew now that we of the Whips could be killed 
even as they themselves were killed. Were 
they peering at me already out of the green 
masses of ferns and palms over yonder, 
watching until I came within their spring ? 
Were they plotting against me ? What was the 
Hyena-swine telling them? My imagination 
was running away with me into a morass of 
unsubstantial fears. 

My thoughts were disturbed by a crying of 
sea-birds hurrying towards some black object that 
had been stranded by the waves on the beach 
near the enclosure. I knew what that object 
was, but I had not the heart to go back and 
drive them off. I began walking along the 
beach in the opposite direction, designing to 
come round the eastward corner of the island 
and so approach the ravine of the huts, with- 
out traversing the possible ambuscades of the 
thickets. 

Perhaps half a mile along the beach I became 
aware of one of my three Beast Folk advancing 
217 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

out of the landward bushes towards me. I was 
now so nervous with my own imaginings that I 
immediately drew my revolver. Even the pro- 
pitiatory gestures of the creature failed to disarm 
me. He hesitated as he approached. 

"Go away ! " cried I. 

There was something very suggestive of a 
dog in the cringing attitude of the creature. It 
retreated a little way, very like a dog being sent 
home, and stopped, looking at me imploringly 
with canine brown eyes. 

" Go away," said I. " Do not come near 
me." 

" May I not come near you ? " it said. 

"No; go away," I insisted, and snapped 
my whip. Then putting my whip in my teeth, 
I stooped for a stone, and with that threat drove 
the creature away. 

So in solitude I came round by the ravine of 
the Beast People, and hiding among the weeds 
and reeds that separated this crevice from the 
sea I watched such of them as appeared, trying 
to judge from their gestures and appearance how 
the death of Moreau and Montgomery and the 
destruction of the House of Pain had affected 
218 



Alone with the Beast Folk. 

them. I know now the folly of my cowardice. 
Had I kept my courage up to the level of the 
dawn, had I not allowed it to ebb away in soli- 
tary thought, I might have grasped the vacant 
sceptre of Moreau and ruled over the Beast 
People. As it was I lost the opportunity, and 
sank to the position of a mere leader among my 
fellows. 

Towards noon certain of them came and 
squatted basking in the hot sand. The impe- 
rious voices of hunger and thirst prevailed over 
my dread. I came out of the bushes, and, 
revolver in hand, walked down towards these 
seated figures. One, a Wolf-woman, turned 
her head and stared at me, and then the others. 
None attempted to rise or salute me. I felt 
too faint and weary to insist, and I let the 
moment pass. 

" I want food, ' ' said I, almost apologetically, 
and drawing near. 

" There is food in the huts," said an Ox- 
boar-man, drowsily, and looking away from 
me. 

I passed them, and went down into the 
shadow and odours of the almost deserted ravine. 
219 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

In an empty hut I feasted on some specked and 
half-decayed fruit ; and then after I had propped 
some branches and sticks about the opening, and 
placed myself with my face towards it and my 
hand upon my revolver, the exhaustion of the 
last thirty hours claimed its own, and I fell into 
a light slumber, hoping that the flimsy barricade 
I had erected would cause sufficient noise in its 
removal to save me from surprise. 






220 



XXI. 

THE REVERSION OF THE BEAST FOLK. 

TN this way I became one among the Beast 
* People in the Island of Doctor Moreau. 
When I awoke, it was dark about me. My 
arm ached in its bandages. I sat up, wonder- 
ing at first where I might be. I heard coarse 
voices talking outside. Then I saw that my 
barricade had gone, and that the opening of the 
hut stood clear. My revolver was still in my 
hand. 

I heard something breathing, saw something 
crouched together close beside me. I held my 
breath, trying to see what it was. It began to 
move slowly, interminably. Then something 
soft and warm and moist passed across my hand. 
All my muscles contracted. I snatched my 
hand away. A cry of alarm began and was 
stifled in my throat. Then I just realised what 
had happened sufficiently to stay my fingers on 
the revolver. 

221 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

" Who is that ? " I said in a hoarse whisper, 
the revolver still pointed. 

/ Master." 

"Who are you?" 

"They say there is no Master now. But I 
know, I know. I carried the bodies into the 
sea, O Walker in the Sea ! the bodies of those 
you slew. I am your slave, Master." 

" Are you the one I met on the beach ? " I 
asked. 

" The same, Master." 

The Thing was evidently faithful enough, for 
it might have fallen upon me as I slept. " It is 
well," I said, extending my hand for another 
licking kiss. I began to realise what its pres- 
ence meant, and the tide of my courage flowed. 
" Where are the others ? " I asked. 

" They are mad ; they are fools," said the 
Dog-man. " Even now they talk together 
beyond there. They say, ' The Master is 
dead. The Other with the Whip is dead. 
That Other who walked in the Sea is as we are. 
We have no Master, no Whips, no House of 
Pain, any more. There is an end. We love 
the Law, and will keep it ; but there is no 
222 



The Reversion of the Beast Folk. 

Pain, no Master, no Whips for ever again.' So 
they say. But I know, Master, I know." 

I felt in the darkness, and patted the Dog- 
man's head. " It is well," I said again. 

"Presently you will slay them all," said the 
Dog-man. 

" Presently," I answered, "I will slay them 
all, after certain days and certain things have 
come to pass. Every one of them save those 
you spare, every one of them shall be slain." 

" What the Master wishes to kill, the Master 
kills," said the Dog-man with a certain satisfac- 
tion in his voice. 

"And that their sins may grow," I said, 
" let them live in their folly until their time is 
ripe. Let them not know that I am the 
Master. " 

"The Master's will is sweet," said the Dog- 
man, with the ready tact of his canine blood. 

"But one has sinned," said I. "Him I 
will kill, whenever I may meet him. When I 
say to you, ' That is he,' see that you fall upon 
him. And now I will go to the men and 
women who are assembled together." 

For a moment the opening of the hut was 
223 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

blackened by the exit of the Dog-man. Then 
I followed and stood up, almost in the exact 
spot where I had been when I had heard 
Moreau and his staghound pursuing me. But 
now it was night, and all the miasmatic ravine 
about me was black ; and beyond, instead of a 
green, sunlit slope, I saw a red fire, before 
which hunched, grotesque figures moved to and 
fro. Farther were the thick trees, a bank of 
darkness, fringed above with the black lace of 
the upper branches. The moon was just riding 
up on the edge of the ravine, and like a bar 
across its face drove the spire of vapour that was 
for ever streaming from the fumaroles of the 
island. 

" Walk by me," said I, nerving myself; and 
side by side we walked down the narrow way, 
taking little heed of the dim Things that peered 
at us out of the huts. 

None about the fire attempted to salute me. 
Most of them disregarded me, ostentatiously. I 
looked round for the Hyena-swine, but he was 
not there. Altogether, perhaps twenty of the 
Beast Folk squatted, staring into the fire or talk- 
ing to one another. 

224 



The Reversion of the Beast Folk. 

"He is dead, he is dead! the Master is 
dead ! ' ' said the voice of the Ape-man to the 
right of me. " The House of Pain there is 
no House of Pain ! " 

"He is not dead," said I, in a loud voice. 
"Even now he watches us!" 

This startled them. Twenty pairs of eyes 
regarded me. 

" The House of Pain is gone," said I. " It 
will come again. The Master you cannot see ; 
yet even now he listens among you." 

" True, true ! " said the Dog-man. 

They were staggered at my assurance. An 
animal may be ferocious and cunning enough, 
but it takes a real man to tell a lie. 

" The Man with the Bandaged Arm speaks 
a strange thing," said one of the Beast Folk. 

" I tell you it is so," I said. " The Master 
and the House of Pain will come again. Woe 
be to him who breaks the Law ! ' ' 

They looked curiously at one another. With 
an affectation of indifference I began to chop 
idly at the ground in front of me with my 
hatchet. They looked, I noticed, at the deep 
cuts I made in the turf. 
15 225 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

Then the Satyr raised a doubt. I answered 
him. Then one of the dappled things objected, 
and an animated discussion sprang up round the 
fire. Every moment I began to feel more con- 
vinced of my present security. I talked now 
without the catching in my breath, due to the 
intensity of my excitement, that had troubled 
me at first. In the course of about an hour I 
had really convinced several of the Beast Folk 
of the truth of my assertions, and talked most of 
the others into a dubious state. I kept a sharp 
eye for my enemy the Hyena-swine, but he 
never appeared. Every now and then a sus- 
picious movement would startle me, but my 
confidence grew rapidly. Then as the moon 
crept down from the zenith, one by one the 
listeners began to yawn (showing the oddest 
teeth in the light of the sinking fire) , and first 
one and then another retired towards the dens 
in the ravine ; and I, dreading the silence and 
darkness, went with them, knowing I was safer 
with several of them than with one alone. 

In this manner began the longer part of my 
sojourn upon this Island of Doctor Moreau. 
But from that night until the end came, there 
226 



The Reversion of the Beast Folk. 

was but one thing happened to tell save a series 
of innumerable small unpleasant details and the 
fretting of an incessant uneasiness. So that I 
prefer to make no chronicle for that gap of 
time, to tell only one cardinal incident of the 
ten months I spent as an intimate of these half- 
humanised brutes. There is much that sticks 
in my memory that I could write, things that 
I would cheerfully give my right hand to forget ; 
but they do not help the telling of the story. 

In the retrospect it is strange to remember 
how soon I fell in with these monsters' ways, 
and gained my confidence again. I had my 
quarrels with them of course, and could show 
some of their teeth-marks still ; but they soon 
gained a wholesome respect for my trick of 
throwing stones and for the bite of my hatchet. 
And my Saint-Bernard-man's loyalty was of infi- 
nite service to me. I found their simple scale of 
honour was based mainly on the capacity for 
inflicting trenchant wounds. Indeed, I may 
say without vanity, I hope that I held 
something like pre-eminence among them. One 
or two, whom in a rare access of high spirits I 
had scarred rather badly, bore me a grudge ; but 
227 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

it vented itself chiefly behind my back, and at 
a safe distance from my missiles, in grimaces. 

The Hyena-swine avoided me, and I was 
always on the alert for him. My inseparable 
Dog-man hated and dreaded him intensely. I 
really believe that was at the root of the brute's 
attachment to me. It was soon evident to me 
that the former monster had tasted blood, and 
gone the way of the Leopard-man. He formed 
a lair somewhere in the forest, and became soli- 
tary. Once I tried to induce the Beast Folk to 
hunt him, but I lacked the authority to make 
them co-operate for one end. Again and again 
I tried to approach his den and come upon him 
unaware ; but always he was too acute for me, 
and saw or winded me and got away. He too 
made every forest pathway dangerous to me and 
my ally with his lurking ambuscades. The 
Dog-man scarcely dared to leave my side. 

In the first month or so the Beast Folk, com- 
pared with their latter condition, were human 
enough, and for one or two besides my canine 
friend I even conceived a friendly tolerance. 
The little pink sloth-creature displayed an odd 
affection for me, and took to following me 
228 



The Reversion of the Beast Folk. 

about. The Monkey-man bored me, however ; 
he assumed, on the strength of his five digits, 
that he was my equal, and was for ever jabber- 
ing at me, jabbering the most arrant non- 
sense. One thing about him entertained me a 
little : he had a fantastic trick of coining new 
words. He had an idea, I believe, that to 
gabble about names that meant nothing was the 
proper use of speech. He called it " Big 
Thinks " to distinguish it from "Little Thinks," 
the sane every-day interests of life. If ever I 
made a remark he did not understand, he would 
praise it very much, ask me to say it again, 
learn it by heart, and go off repeating it, 
with a word wrong here or there, to all the 
milder of the Beast People. He thought 
nothing of what was plain and comprehensible. 
I invented some very curious "Big Thinks" 
for his especial use. I think now that he was 
the silliest creature I ever met ; he had devel- 
oped in the most wonderful way the distinctive 
silliness of man without losing one jot of the 
natural folly of a monkey. 

This, I say, was in the earlier weeks of my 
solitude among these brutes. During that time 
229 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

they respected the usage established by the 
Law, and behaved with general decorum. 
Once I found another rabbit torn to pieces, 
by the Hyena-swine, I am assured, but that 
was all. It was about May when I first dis- 
tinctly perceived a growing difference in their 
speech and carriage, a growing coarseness of 
articulation, a growing disinclination to talk. 
My Monkey-man's jabber multiplied in volume, 
but grew less and less comprehensible, more and 
more simian. Some of the others seemed alto- 
gether slipping their hold upon speech, though 
they still understood what I said to them at that 
time. (Can you imagine language, once clear- 
cut and exact, softening and guttering, losing 
shape and import, becoming mere limps of sound 
again ?) And they walked erect with an in- 
creasing difficulty. Though they evidently felt 
ashamed of themselves, every now and then I 
would come upon one or another running on 
toes and finger-tips, and quite unable to recover 
the vertical attitude. They held things more 
clumsily ; drinking by suction, feeding by 
gnawing, grew commoner every day. I real- 
ised more keenly than ever what Moreau had 
230 



The Reversion of the Beast Folk. 

told me about the "stubborn beast-flesh.'* 
They were reverting, and reverting very 
rapidly. 

Some of them the pioneers in this, I no- 
ticed with some surprise, were all females 
began to disregard the injunction of decency, 
deliberately for the most part. Others even 
attempted public outrages upon the institution of 
monogamy. The tradition of the Law was 
clearly losing its force. I cannot pursue this 
disagreeable subject. 

My Dog-man imperceptibly slipped back to 
the dog again ; day by day he became dumb, 
quadrupedal, hairy. I scarcely noticed the 
transition from the companion on my right hand 
to the lurching dog at my side. 

As the carelessness and disorganisation in- 
creased from day to day, the lane of dwelling- 
places, at no time very sweet, became so loath- 
some that I left it, and going across the island 
made myself a hovel of boughs amid the black 
ruins of Moreau's enclosure. Some memory of 
pain, I found, still made that place the safest 
from the Beast Folk. 

It would be impossible to detail every step of 
231 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

the lapsing of these monsters, to tell how, 
day by day, the human semblance left them 3 
how they gave up bandagings and wrappings, 
abandoned at last every stitch of clothing ; how 
the hair began to spread over the exposed limbs ; 
how their foreheads fell away and their faces 
projected ; how the quasi-human intimacy I 
had permitted myself with some of them in 
the first month of my loneliness became a shud- 
dering horror to recall. 

The change was slow and inevitable. For 
them and for me it came without any definite 
shock. I still went among them in safety, 
because no jolt in the downward glide had re- 
leased the increasing charge of explosive animal- 
ism that ousted the human day by day. But I 
began to fear that soon now that shock must 
come. My Saint-Bernard-brute followed me to 
the enclosure every night, and his vigilance 
enabled me to sleep at times in something like 
peace. The little pink sloth-thing became shy 
and left me, to crawl back to its natural life 
once more among the tree-branches. We were 
in just the state of equilibrium that would remain 
in one of those "Happy Family " cages which 
232 



The Reversion of the Beast Folk. 

animal-tamers exhibit, if the tamer were to 
leave it for ever. 

Of course these creatures did not decline into 
such beasts as the reader has seen in zoological 
gardens, into ordinary bears, wolves, tigers, 
oxen, swine, and apes. There was still some- 
thing strange about each ; in each Moreau had 
blended this animal with that. One perhaps 
was ursine chiefly, another feline chiefly, another 
bovine chiefly ; but each was tainted with other 
creatures, a kind of generalised animalism ap- 
pearing through the specific dispositions. And 
the dwindling shreds of the humanity still 
startled me every now and then, a momen- 
tary recrudescence of speech perhaps, an un- 
expected dexterity of the fore-feet, a pitiful 
attempt to walk erect. 

I too must have undergone strange changes. 
My clothes hung about me as yellow rags, 
through whose rents showed the tanned skin. 
My hair grew long, and became matted together. 
I am told that even now my eyes have a strange 
brightness, a swift alertness of movement. 

At first I spent the daylight hours on the 
southward beach watching for a ship, hoping 

233 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

and praying for a ship. I counted on the 
" Ipecacuanha ' ' returning as the year wore on ; 
but she never came. Five times I saw sails, 
and thrice smoke ; but nothing ever touched 
the island. I always had a bonfire ready, but 
no doubt the volcanic reputation of the island 
was taken to account for that. 

It was only about September or October 
that I began to think of making a raft. By that 
time my arm had healed, and both my hands 
were at my service again. At first, I found 
my helplessness appalling. I had never done 
any carpentry or such-like work in my life, and 
I spent day after day in experimental chopping 
and binding among the trees. I had no ropes, 
and could hit on nothing wherewith to make 
ropes ; none of the abundant creepers seemed 
limber or strong enough, and with all my litter 
of scientific education I could not devise any 
way of making them so. I spent more than a 
fortnight grubbing among the black ruins of the 
enclosure and on the beach where the boats had 
been burnt, looking for nails and other stray 
pieces of metal that might prove of service. 
Now and then some Beast-creature would watch 
2 34 



The Reversion of the Beast Folk. 

me, and go leaping off when I called to it. 
There came a season of thunder-storms and 
heavy rain, which greatly retarded my work; 
but at last the raft was completed. 

I was delighted with it. But with a certain 
lack of practical sense which has always been 
my bane, I had made it a mile or more from 
the sea ; and before I had dragged it down to 
the beach the thing had fallen to pieces. Per- 
haps it is as well that I was saved from launch- 
ing it ; but at the time my misery at my failure 
was so acute that for some days I simply moped 
on the beach, and stared at the water and 
thought of death. 

I did not, however, mean to die, and an 
incident occurred that warned me unmistakably 
of the folly of letting the days pass so, for 
each fresh day was fraught with increasing 
danger from the Beast People. 

I was lying in the shade of the enclosure 
wall, staring out to sea, when I was startled by 
something cold touching the skin of my heel, 
and starting round found the little pink sloth- 
creature blinking into my face. He had long 
since lost speech and active movement, and the 

235 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

lank hair of the little brute grew thicker every 
day and his stumpy claws more askew. He 
made a moaning noise when he saw he had 
attracted my attention, went a little way towards 
the bushes and looked back at me. 

At first I did not understand, but presently it 
occurred to me that he wished me to follow 
him ; and this I did at last, slowly, for the 
day was hot. When we reached the trees he 
clambered into them, for he could travel better 
among their swinging creepers than on the 
ground. And suddenly in a trampled space I 
came upon a ghastly group. My Saint- Bernard- 
creature lay on the ground, dead ; and near his 
body crouched the Hyena-swine, gripping the 
quivering flesh with its misshapen claws, gnaw- 
ing at it, and snarling with delight. As I 
approached, the monster lifted its glaring eyes 
to mine, its lips went trembling back from its 
red-stained teeth, and it growled menacingly. 
It was not afraid and not ashamed; the last 
vestige of the human taint had vanished. I 
advanced a step farther, stopped, and pulled out 
my revolver. At last I had him face to face. 

The brute made no sign of retreat ; but its 

236 



The Reversion of the Beast Folk. 

ears went back, its hair bristled, and its body 
crouched together. I aimed between the eyes 
and fired. As I did so, the Thing rose straight 
at me in a leap, and I was knocked over like a 
ninepin. It clutched at me with its crippled 
hand, and struck me in the face. Its spring 
carried it over me. I fell under the hind part 
of its body ; but luckily I had hit as I meant, 
and it had died even as it leapt. I crawled out 
from under its unclean weight and stood up 
trembling, staring at its quivering body. That 
danger at least was over ; but this, I knew, was 
only the first of the series of relapses that must 
come. 

I burnt both of the bodies on a pyre of 
brushwood ; but after that I saw that unless I 
left the island my death was only a question of 
time. The Beast People by that time had, 
with one or two exceptions, left the ravine and 
made themselves lairs according to their taste 
among the thickets of the island. Few prowled 
by day, most of them slept, and the island 
might have seemed deserted to a new-comer; 
but at night the air was hideous with their calls 
and howling. I had half a mind to make a 

237 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

massacre of them ; to build traps, or fight them 
with my knife. Had I possessed sufficient cart- 
ridges, I should not have hesitated to begin the 
killing. There could now be scarcely a score 
left of the dangerous carnivores ; the braver of 
these were already dead. After the death of 
this poor dog of mine, my last friend, I too 
adopted to some extent the practice of slumber- 
ing in the daytime in order to be on my guard 
at night. I rebuilt my den in the walls of the 
enclosure, with such a narrow opening that any- 
thing attempting to enter must necessarily make 
a considerable noise. The creatures had lost 
the art of fire too, and recovered their fear of it. 
I turned once more, almost passionately now, 
to hammering together stakes and branches to 
form a raft for my escape. 

I found a thousand difficulties. I am an 
extremely unhandy man (my schooling was 
over before the days of Slojd) ; but most of the 
requirements of a raft I met at last in some 
clumsy, circuitous way or other, and this time I 
took care of the strength. The only insur- 
mountable obstacle was that I had no vessel to 
contain the water I should need if I floated forth 

238 



The Reversion of the Beast Folk. 

upon these untravelled seas. I would have 
even tried pottery, but the island contained no 
clay. I used to go moping about the island, 
trying with all my might to solve this one last 
difficulty. Sometimes I would give way to wild 
outbursts of rage, and hack and splinter some 
unlucky tree in my intolerable vexation. But 
I could think of nothing. 

And then came a day, a wonderful day, 
which I spent in ecstasy. I saw a sail to the 
southwest, a small sail like that of a little 
schooner; and forthwith I lit a great pile of 
brushwood, and stood by it in the heat of it, 
and the heat of the midday sun, watching. All 
day I watched that sail, eating or drinking 
nothing, so that my head reeled; and the 
Beasts came and glared at me, and seemed to 
wonder, and went away. It was still distant 
when night came and swallowed it up ; and all 
night I toiled to keep my blaze bright and high, 
and the eyes of the Beasts shone out of the 
darkness, marvelling. In the dawn the sail was 
nearer, and I saw it was the dirty lug-sail of a 
small boat. But it sailed strangely. My eyes 
were weary with watching, and I peered and 

239 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

could not believe them. Two men were 
in the boat, sitting low down, one by 
the bows, the other at the rudder. The 
head was not kept to the wind ; it yawed and 
fell away. 

As the day grew brighter, I began waving 
the last rag of my jacket to them ; but they did 
not notice me, and sat still, facing each other. 
I went to the lowest point of the low headland, 
and gesticulated and shouted. There was no 
response, and the boat kept on her aimless 
course, making slowly, very slowly, for the 
bay. Suddenly a great white bird flew up out 
of the boat, and neither of the men stirred nor 
noticed it; it circled round, and then came 
sweeping overhead with its strong wings 
outspread. 

Then I stopped shouting, and sat down on 
the headland and rested my chin on my hands 
and stared. Slowly, slowly, the boat drove 
past towards the west. I would have swum out 
to it, but something a cold, vague fear kept 
me back. In the afternoon the tide stranded 
the boat, and left it a hundred yards or so to the 
westward of the ruins of the enclosure. The 
240 



The Reversion of the Beast Folk. 

men in it were dead, had been dead so long that 
they fell to pieces when I tilted the boat on its 
side and dragged them out. One had a shock 
of red hair, like the captain of the " Ipecacu- 
anha,'* and a dirty white cap lay in the bottom 
of the boat. 

As I stood beside the boat, three of the 
Beasts came slinking out of the bushes and 
sniffing towards me. One of my spasms of 
disgust came upon me. I thrust the little boat 
down the beach and clambered on board her. 
Two of the brutes were Wolf-beasts, and came 
forward with quivering nostrils and glittering 
eyes ; the third was the horrible nondescript of 
bear and bull. When I saw them approaching 
those wretched remains, heard them snarling at 
one another and caught the gleam of their teeth, 
a frantic horror succeeded my repulsion. I 
turned my back upon them, struck the lug and 
began paddling out to sea. I could not bring 
myself to look behind me. 

I lay, however, between the reef and the 

island that night, and the next morning went 

round to the stream and filled the empty keg 

aboard with water. Then, with such patience 

16 241 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

as I could command, I collected a quantity of 
fruit, and waylaid and killed two rabbits with 
my last three cartridges. While I was doing 
this I left the boat moored to an inward projec- 
tion of the reefj for fear of the Beast People. 



242 



XXII. 

THE MAN ALONE. 

TN the evening I started, and drove out to sea 
* before a gentle wind from the southwest, 
slowly, steadily; and the island grew smaller 
and smaller, and the lank spire of smoke dwin- 
dled to a finer and finer line against the hot sun- 
set. The ocean rose up around me, hiding that 
low, dark patch from my eyes. The daylight, 
the trailing glory of the sun, went streaming out 
of the sky, was drawn aside like some luminous 
curtain, and at last I looked into the blue gulf of 
immensity which the sunshine hides, and saw 
the floating hosts of the stars. The sea was 
silent, the sky was silent. I was alone with the 
night and silence. 

So I drifted for three days, eating and drink- 
ing sparingly, and meditating upon all that had 
happened to me, not desiring very greatly 
then to see men again. One unclean rag was 
about me, my hair a black tangle : no doubt 
my discoverers thought me a madman. 
243 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

It is strange, but I felt no desire to return to 
mankind. I was only glad to be quit of the 
foulness of the Beast People. And on the third 
day I was picked up by a brig from Apia to 
San Francisco. Neither the captain nor the 
mate would believe my story, judging that soli- 
tude and danger had made me mad ; and fear- 
ing their opinion might be that of others, I 
refrained from telling my adventure further, and 
professed to recall nothing that had happened to 
me between the loss of the "Lady Vain" and 
the time when I was picked up again, the 
space of a year. 

I had to act with the utmost circumspection 
to save myself from the suspicion of insanity. 
My memory of the Law, of the two dead 
sailors, of the ambuscades of the darkness, of 
the body in the canebrake, haunted me ; and, 
unnatural as it seems, with my return to man- 
kind came, instead of that confidence and sym- 
pathy I had expected, a strange enhancement of 
the uncertainty and dread I had experienced 
during my stay upon the island. No one 
would believe me ; I was almost as queer to 
men as I had been to the Beast People. I may 
244 



The Man Alone. 

have caught something of the natural wildness 
of my companions. They say that terror is a 
disease, and anyhow I can witness that for sev- 
eral years now a restless fear has dwelt in my 
mind, such a restless fear as a half-tamed lion 
cub may feel. 

My trouble took the strangest form. I could 
not persuade myself that the men and women I 
met were not also another Beast People, animals 
half wrought into the outward image of human 
souls, and that they would presently begin to 
revert, to show first this bestial mark and 
then that. But I have confided my case to a 
strangely able man, a man who had known 
Moreau, and seemed half to credit my story ; 
a mental specialist, and he has helped me 
mightily, though I do not expect that the terror 
of that island will ever altogether leave me. 
At most times it lies far in the back of my mind, 
a mere distant cloud, a memory, and a faint dis- 
trust ; but there are times when the little cloud 
spreads until it obscures the whole sky. Then 
I look about me at my fellow -men ; and I go in 
fear. I see faces, keen and bright ; others, dull 
or dangerous ; others, unsteady, insincere, 
245 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

none that have the calm authority of a reason- 
able soul. I feel as though the animal was 
surging up through them ; that presently the 
degradation of the Islanders will be played over 
again on a larger scale. I know this is an illu- 
sion ; that these seeming men and women about 
me are indeed men and women, men and 
women for ever, perfectly reasonable creatures, 
full of human desires and tender solicitude, 
emancipated from instinct and the slaves of no 
fantastic Law, beings altogether different from 
the Beast Folk. Yet I shrink from them, from 
their curious glances, their inquiries and assist- 
ance, and long to be away from them and alone. 
For that reason I live near the broad free down- 
land, and can escape thither when this shadow 
is over my soul ; and very sweet is the empty 
downland then, under the wind-swept sky. 

When I lived in London the horror was well- 
nigh insupportable. I could not get away from 
men : their voices came through windows ; 
locked doors were flimsy safeguards. I would 
go out into the streets to fight with my delusion, 
and prowling women would mew after me ; 
furtive, craving men glance jealously at me ; 
246 



The Man Alone. 

weary, pale workers go coughing by me with 
tired eyes and eager paces, like wounded deer 
dripping blood ; old people, bent and dull, pass 
murmuring to themselves ; and, all unheeding, 
a ragged tail of gibing children. Then I would 
turn aside into some chapel, and even there, 
such was my disturbance, it seemed that the 
preacher gibbered " Big Thinks," even as the 
Ape-man had done ; or into some library, and 
there the intent faces over the books seemed 
but patient creatures waiting for prey. Particu- 
larly nauseous were the blank, expressionless 
faces of people in trains and omnibuses ; they 
seemed no more my fellow-creatures than dead 
bodies would be, so that I did not dare to 
travel unless I was assured of being alone. And 
even it seemed that I too was not a reasonable 
creature, but only an animal tormented with 
some strange disorder in its brain which sent 
it to wander alone, like a sheep stricken 
with gid. 

This is a mood, however, that comes to me 
now, I thank God, more rarely. I have with- 
drawn myself from the confusion of cities and 
multitudes, and spend my days surrounded by 
247 



The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

wise books, bright windows in this life of 
ours, lit by the shining souls of men. I see few 
strangers, and have but a small household. My 
days I devote to reading and to experiments in 
chemistry, and I spend many of the clear nights 
in the study of astronomy. There is though 
I do not know how there is or why there is 
a sense of infinite peace and protection in the 
glittering hosts of heaven. There it must be, 
I think, in the vast and eternal laws of matter, 
and not in the daily cares and sins and troubles 
of men, that whatever is more than animal 
within us must find its solace and its hope. I 
hope, or I could not live. 

And so, in hope and solitude, my story ends. 
EDWARD PRENDICK. 



248 



NOTE. 

The substance of the chapter entitled " Doctor 
Moreau explains," which contains the essential 
idea of the story, appeared as a middle article in the 
t Saturday Review " in January, 1895. This 
is the only portion of this story that has been pre- 
viously published, and it has been entirely recast 
to adapt it to the narrative form. 



249 



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PR Wells, Herbert George 

5774 The island of Docto 

17 Moreau 



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